Steve Nash on Nets’ early struggles without Kyrie Irving: 'We’re trying to build a new team'

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Steve Nash Kyrie Irving Joe Harris Bruce Brown cropped 6/10/21
Steve Nash Kyrie Irving Joe Harris Bruce Brown cropped 6/10/21

After the Nets’ 96-90 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, Brooklyn’s winning streak is now at four. But there was a brief moment when the now 1-8 Pistons had Kevin Durant, James Harden and the rest of the team on their heels.

The team didn’t blow the game, but the early offensive struggles of the team have it at 6-3 and in the middle of a stacked Eastern Conference. Lucky for the Nets, other playoff teams from last year like the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have also struggled, allowing for the Nets to, almost quietly, rise up the ranks.

When asked about the other struggling teams in the Eastern Conference, head coach Steve Nash told reporters following Friday’s win that he isn't “worried” about other teams and that his only focus is on getting the Nets to be what they were a year ago if not better.


“We spent almost two weeks with a different team and then we lost Kyrie [Irving] and that’s a totally different situation,” Nash said. “We’re trying to build a new team and try to work with this group. That’s a big hole and everyone has to step up a level and a notch, in minutes and responsibility to find out the best way to play this group. It’s a process and I’m really proud of the guys in the way they’ve engaged in what we’re asking them to do and in the improvements we’ve made, but it’s a totally different situation and we have to work our way through it.”

Irving has yet to appear in a game this season due to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. He is one of the Nets’ Big Three alongside Durant and Harden and was a key component in the team’s success last year.

Without the handling, court-awareness and especially scoring that Irving brought to the Nets -- he averaged almost 27 ppg last season -- the team has struggled to find that cohesiveness they had last year, but they have seemingly turned a corner.

Whether Irving returns or not, Nash is looking toward making his team the best they can be. After four-straight wins, the team looks to be on track to being one of the best in the conference.