When Steve Nash was hired as the Nets' new head coach, one of the main connections made immediately was the one he had with Kevin Durant.
During his time as a consultant with the Golden State Warriors, Nash and Durant developed a very close relationship. Nash was an 18-yer veteran with multiple MVPs and All-Star appearances while Durant had an MVP himself with the Oklahoma City Thunder and collected an NBA title during his time with the Warriors as well.
So the respect level was certainly there, and that opened the door for Nash to make some suggestions to arguably the best scorer in the NBA when he's on the floor.
Bruce Fraser, a close friend of Nash as well as a Warriors assistant, told SNY's Ian Begley that Nash found "between-game changes" that Durant could utilize for maximum performance on the court.
The first? Shorten time on the court between games with higher exertion during the workout.
"To credit Kevin, it wasn’t like he had to increase the exertion that much because he goes hard,” Fraser said.
"So to have him switch gears and go into something that might be shorter to me was telling of what his trust and confidence in Nash was.”
The next change was something most wouldn't believe a coach to tell a player.
Come to the arena closer to game time.
"Kevin bought in to it and I think it was really good for him,” Fraser said. “….There was a lot of Nash in what Kevin decided to do.”
In turn, Durant may not have surpassed point totals that he would put up being the No. 1 option in OKC (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and others needed the ball too), but he was extremely efficient on the floor. He shot a career high 53.7 percent from the field during the 2016-17 season -- his first with Golden State -- and his 51.6 percent in 17-18 and 52.1 percent in 2018-19 are top three numbers in that category for his career, too.
Fraser believes a lot of what Durant accomplished in those three years can be credited to Nash's coaching, something he will continue to work on with the Nets.