The Nets’ teaching workers has suffered some severe churn in Steve Nash’s first two offseasons. However Igor Kokoskov, who was employed over the summer time to affix Nash’s workers, isn’t simply an addition — he’s a confidant.
Nash is coming off a summer time that noticed his resident celebrity Kevin Durant attempt to get him fired, and strolling right into a season with sufficient unrest that he was just lately booed by Nets followers on the workforce’s annual Observe within the Park. He’s going to wish each ally and stalwart he can get, and Kokoskov qualifies as each.
“We return a methods,” Nash stated wistfully of Kokoskov, who’d labored with him from 2008-12 on the high-octane Suns. “I feel he’s simply helped me.
“On this league, I feel most individuals have seen all of it — most of us have seen every little thing — however he helped me in the summertime actually plan and manage how we wish to disseminate our units and our actions and implement them. He has been incredible so far as serving to me get readability and group and bounce concepts off him and begin to construct one thing.
Considered one of Nash’s first calls when he bought the Brooklyn job in 2020 was a long-distance one to Turkey, throughout which he tried to recruit Kokoskov to his first workers. The Serb had simply taken over Fenerbahçe, and in the end opted to remain put and lead the workforce to the Turkish finals and EuroLeague playoffs. It took a while, however Nash lastly bought his man.
Steve Nash tried to recruit Igor Kokoskov to the Nets in 2020, however the longtime NBA veteran assistant determined to stay with the Turkish membership he had simply taken over.Euroleague Basketball by way of Getty
Nash had seen defensive coordinator Ime Udoka and offensive coordinator Mike D’Antoni depart after that first season, then one other offensive coordinator Jordan Ott and Amar’e Stoudemire depart after final season’s tumultuous marketing campaign.
Having performed underneath D’Antoni and alongside Stoudemire in Phoenix, Nash had a familiarity with them that helped throughout his introduction to teaching. This upcoming season he’ll as soon as once more lean closely on one other former Solar, Kokoskov, who’s tasked with being Nash’s third offensive coordinator in as a few years.
“We’ve had such disparate sorts of groups all through the final couple of years, it’s been actually laborious,” stated Nash. “And this 12 months, hopefully, we will forestall any points with the adversity that comes or doesn’t come, and mainly be organized and dialed in to sustaining the way in which we wish to play. I feel additionally our roster can maintain extra adversity this 12 months as nicely.
“[Kokoskov] has been unbelievable. It’s been nice to work with an outdated good friend as nicely, and he’s actually helped me in plenty of methods.”
Kokoskov — anticipated to maneuver the Nets’ away from being fully isolation-reliant to extra of a movement offense — had been an assistant underneath D’Antoni’s successor, Terry Porter, after which Alvin Gentry for the tail finish of Nash’s prime. The pair clicked largely from seeing the sport the identical manner and having comparable offensive philosophies.
Kokoskov was an assistant in Phoenix for 5 seasons earlier than ultimately returning to be the Suns head coach within the 2018-19 season,NBAE by way of Getty Pictures
“[J]ust unbelievable offensive encyclopedia,” Nash stated of Kokoskov. “He was my assistant coach again within the day in Phoenix for a few years and simply has nice expertise, he’s been within the league 25 years.”
Kokoskov, who additionally served because the Suns’ head coach in 2018-19, has been round, working as an assistant with the Clippers, Pistons, Cavaliers, Jazz, Kings and Mavericks. He has spent this coaching camp and the preseason attempting to interrupt Brooklyn of final season’s iso habits and preaching extra movement.
“Ball motion. Ball motion,” Kyrie Irving stated of the Nets’ new mantra. “You have a look at a few of our possessions final 12 months, it was plenty of one-on-one. You guys talked about it typically, and we had been nicely conscious of it, that that offense, when the ball sticks, it’s simply not the best model of basketball you possibly can play.
“We’re giving the protection some nights off once we simply go one-on-one. … [There] could be a time and place once we make the most of that, however proper now, having Ben [Simmons] be one among our lead guards and him getting up and down the courtroom, the ball’s hopping, it feels good.”
A workforce with Irving and Durant is at all times going to make use of isolation, however offensively they’re looking for straightforward baskets by getting out in transition and thriving in early offense. Even of their losses this preseason, they’ve moved the ball within the halfcourt — it’s simply been sloppy at instances.
Kyrie Irving stated the Nets’ emphasis on ball motion ought to make it more durable on opposing defenses than the isolation-heavy schemes they’ve employed in current seasons.USA TODAY Sports activities
Brooklyn’s help price was fifth-best coming into Friday’s preseason finale in Minnesota, their turnovers falling each sport, from 27 within the opening loss to 26 in opposition to the Warmth to a crisp 14 in Wednesday’s win at Milwaukee.
Kokoskov — who helped Detroit to the 2004 NBA title and Dallas to final season’s Western Convention Finals — has his fingerprints throughout that change.
“Yeah, however I’d say there’s plenty of delegation amongst the workers,” Joe Harris instructed The Submit. “Igor positively has a hand in a bunch of it. There’s plenty of enter from plenty of the coaches, however the units that we’ve been doing, yeah, have been Igor’s implementation.
“They wish to put us in sure spots spacing-wise, however then plenty of it’s simply as much as studying and reacting and taking part in off of each other; as a result of that’s usually while you get your greatest offense, while you’re capable of free circulate, play with good tempo. However when we have to run stuff, we will. We now have the units in place, movement units or particular actions.”
The annual GM survey was nowhere close to as form to Brooklyn because it has been prior to now few years, a results of final season’s disappointing marketing campaign. However Kokoskov did obtain votes for “greatest assistant coach,” a class former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson — now with Golden State — ran away with.
Kokoskov arrived in Brooklyn recent off of serving to Luka Doncic and the Mavericks make a shocking run to the Western Convention Finals.NBAE by way of Getty Pictures
“I imply, JO (Jordan Ott) was an amazing basketball thoughts as nicely,” Durant stated. “All of us run the identical sort of ideas, simply primarily based on the gamers that you’ve in a gaggle and in your workforce. So JO added one thing to our workforce that’s nonetheless right here, after which Igor is form of attempting to fine-tune it, and craft it his manner as nicely.
“It’s all a collaborative effort on what we see, the place I just like the ball, the place Ky likes the ball, the place Joe needs to shoot it from. All of us have these conversations, it’s at all times flowing on what we have to do to be a greater offensive workforce.”
Who’re these guys?
Kokoskov isn’t the one new face subsequent to Nash this season. G League coach Adam Caporn and Nets video coordinator Trevor Hendry each had been promoted to sit down on the bench this season.
“Trevor has been right here for six years operating the video room; he’s only a grinder, [great] work ethic,” Nash stated. “He’s locked himself in that video room all these years, so has an amazing deal with on the sport, the NBA sport, all of the variance all through the league, and I feel it was time. He earned the transfer up.
Adam Caporn led the Lengthy Island Nets to their second playoff look in workforce historical past in his one season within the G League earlier than making the bounce to Brooklyn’s bench.NBAE by way of Getty Pictures
“Capes was our G League coach final 12 months and has an unbelievable participant growth acumen, and training acumen. So he’s heading participant growth after he did that on the Nationwide Institute in Australia. He’s been an assistant coach on the Australia Nationwide Workforce, he’s been a head coach within the G League and in addition within the Australian Professional League. So I feel he provides loads to our group on all these ranges.”
Completely satisfied Anniversary!
Barclays Middle is celebrating its tenth anniversary this season, together with the Nets’ transfer from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
After ending their prior season at Prudential Middle in Newark, the Nets’ first sport in Barclays was a preseason tilt in opposition to the Washington Wizards on October 15, 2012, 10 years in the past Saturday. Their regular-season opener was delayed by Hurricane Sandy, however happened Nov. 3 with a win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Nets and guardian firm BSE International are planning a number of commemorative occasions.