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Coach Steve Nash: Should Captain Canada be on the New Orleans Pelicans short list?

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Steve Nash is primed for an immediate transition from point guard to head coach.

Steve Nash
Steve Nash
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

"There are so many different ways to lead. The most important thing is to be genuine. To have people around you trust you, trust in what you stand for and who you are. And I think that if people watch you day in and day out and believe in your motives and they believe that you set a high standard for yourself." Ask Men Interview - Steve Nash on Leadership

Steve Nash can likely be found singing a derivative of the Enrique Iglesias' smash hit "I can be your LeBron, baby" a la Erik Spoelstra in reference to the job opening on Dave Dixon Drive, with the opportunity to "coach" Anthony Davis.

The Spurs model of coaching didn't work out exactly as hoped by Dell Demps, and upon Monty Williams' exit from The Big Easy, Nash could step in and become the figure head of the new regime tomorrow.

Relationships with great coaches (Alvin Gentry, Jay Triano)? Check. Relationship with great, and aging, players (Shane Battier, Dirk Nowitzki)? Check. Fitting into the Drew Brees/Anthony Davis mold of community activism and outreach in the New Orleans metropolitan area (https://stevenash.org/)? Check. Steve Nash was a smart player, of many accomplishments, who was always seemed to fit the player-coach model, and has management experience to boot.

What could go wrong, eh?

Patience

Steve Nash wasn't even originally a basketballer, as a child his sport was soccer. However, when he discovered hoops, and excelled rather quickly in high school, Nash was still seen as too little or too slow to compete anywhere past high school. This came as a great surprise to scouts who saw him as a freshman lead the 15th seeded Santa Clara Broncos past the Lute Olsen commanded and 2nd seeded Arizona Wildcats.

Nash would go on to be elected team captain, win the WCC Conference Player of the Year twice and was an honorable mention All-American by his final season. By the time his career finished in Santa Clara, he left as the all-time leader in assists, free throw percentage, made three pointers, and attempted three pointers.

Not too bad for a maple sweatin' Canadian who wasn't actively recruited by any of the American Universities.

It'd be silly to believe that Steve Nash didn't learn a thing or two about recruiting through his college years, and would likely be inclined to give the long shot a fair crack, similar to how Sean and Mickey across the street often operate.

Though, I think his greatest lesson learned as a member of the Santa Clara Broncos would be patience, which was exhibited when he decided not to go professional after his breakout year in the 1994-95 season, holding back for one more year of learning and honing his skills as a master distributor. Surely, there are a few players that could learn from the patience of Coach Nash (i.e. Tyreke Evans, Alexis Ajinca, and Norris Cole come immediately to mind).


Relentlessness

It's a good thing Nash didn't jump to the NBA after his junior season because as a rookie with the Phoenix Suns in 1996 he wasn't anything to blog home about. Averaging 3.3 points, 2.1 assists, and 1 turnover in 10.5 minutes wasn't the glorious entrance he'd hoped, and after only two seasons he was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks -- a move that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

For 6 seasons, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki would find marginal success, as both blossomed into perennial NBA All Stars as a dynamic duo. However, once his contract was up, Nash found himself in the free agency pool, but would find interest from his initial employers, the Phoenix Suns.

During his second stint in the desert, Nash would continue his successful trajectory. He captured the league MVP award in successive seasons, further solidifying Steve Nash as a relentless competitor, and one of the NBA's most gifted minds on the hardwood.

In addition to his positive, never-give-up attitude, Nash would bring to the Pelicans a wealth of playoff experience and knowledge. After the season the Pels had last year, someone with a recent feel for the game and a vast post-season experience would find a group of eager and talented players ready to expand on the recent success.

Structural Functionalism

Sociologist Herbert Spencer referred to "Structural Functionalism" as the perspective in sociology according to which society consists of different but related parts, each of which serves a particular purpose. Like in a social construct, an NBA basketball team must function as one complete entity even though it is made up of various individual parts if it expects to achieve success.

Steve Nash's coaching style could be based on this idea in a more refined manner than any other coach in NBA history. Sure, Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach understood that a team needs to play together to win, but Nash's seamless entry into head coaching from player-coaching eliminates the depression period between players thinking as players, and coaches thinking like coaches. By that, it's implied that Steve Nash may as well be donning a Pelicans jersey, because he will be just as much a player as he is a coach, which would open up an ideology never before utilized by a coach, expect for possibly Jason Kidd & Derek Fisher.

Stylistically, I'd expect a fast-paced, finesse game, similar to the racket they're playing over there in Oakland. The similarity between Nash's break-neck paced Suns teams and this New Orleans Pelicans squad are fairly striking. Ryan Anderson is our young Joe Johnson, Anthony Davis is our Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyreke Evans is our Jason Richardson, etc. But the lynchpin, Steve Nash at point guard, may not be on the roster unless Jrue Holiday can fine tune his game in that way.

The idea of communal basketball was always the driving force behind the numerous rosters Nash headed in his tenure with the Suns, and he'd be a smart man to drive that same point home to the players he's bring up.

Relatability

To further the point, Steve Nash has the gift of relatability. It's not Monty's fault that he was a small forward, but Nash could help bring out the best in the guards on the Pelicans roster, and even some that aren't.

From Nash, Holiday can learn more patience. Jrue is already head and shoulders above the defender that Steve Nash ever was, so coupled with the patience and his already stellar vision, we'd see the best Holiday yet. Tyreke and Gordon can both learn about decision making, and the idea of forethought in the split moments before you act. Steve Nash was the best as deception and misdirection, all because of his decision making abilities. Finally, Norris "Cannon" Cole can learn from the floor vision that Nash had during his playing days. Imagine if Nash had Cole's speed, scary.

The player who can learn the most, though, is actually someone who does NOT play the guard position. AD for MVP was the resounding chant towards the middle to end of last season, and rightfully so. Therefore, when someone who did win two of those awards finds his way to your arena and decides to coach you on the path to that same success, the possibilities are endless. The relatability between Anthony Davis and Steve Nash begins and ends with the fact that they are (and were) the best players on their team, and are expected to be leaders of men on the court.

Trustworthy

As explained earlier, Steve Nash would be following a similar path to Derek Fisher and Jason Kidd. Fisher's first year wasn't a success, though with the tanking New York Knicks, but Jason Kidd's initial year with the Brooklyn Nets saw him achieve about a 50% W/L record, though yet again with a much better roster In this case. The biggest fear that these guys had, and that Steve Nash would find, was trustworthiness.

Some players you'd be calling out orders to were the same guys that you'd be trying to beat the hell out of less than a year ago. However, Nash could bring some quality assistants to help with the transition. A couple guys that should be on his mind are Alvin Gentry, one of his coaches with the Suns, Jay Triano, the head coach of the Canadian National Team of which Nash is currently the acting GM, Shane Battier, someone on the same wavelength as Nash in intelligence and mindset, and finally Dirk Nowitzki after his retirement. The idea of Dirk working with the athletic bigs on the Pelicans roster, Nash working with the guards, and Triano and Battier fitting in where they could, would do more than bolster that trustworthiness that Steve Nash would likely attain from his players.

Helpful

The best part about Steve Nash is the man he is off of the court. Want to get a professional soccer team to Nola? Steve Nash might be the ticket... and the primary capital investor. He's unassuming, quirky, and has a tinge of French background to him, like most of the inhabitants of this city. He's an up-started, a go-getter, and helpful to a gloriously suffocating degree.

The Steve Nash Foundation works to increase access to critical needs and utilities to children in underserved communities, with the end goal being to improve the quality of life of children in all socio-economic backgrounds. In a few words, he's the Canadian Drew Brees and Anthony Davis wrapped into one on the community outreach front.

When you have respect for the coach as a player, you give him all of your effort. But when you have full respect for your coach as a fan base and regional community, you'll gain that home-court advantage many teams in the league thrive on -- see Golden State. A helpful coach is a respected coach.

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Why is Captain Canada the best fit for the Pelicans coaching vacancy?

  • Nash is patient and analytical, to slow down the game and think, understand and explain the plan through when most necessary.
  • Nash is relentless when the goal is set, and can rally his players to the same intensity he exudes. Nash is aware of the idea that there needs to be a level of structural functionalism for his team to attain long-term success.
  • Nash is relatable, to not only the guards whom he was playing against as recently as last year, but to the up and coming crown jewel of the team in Anthony Davis as he marches towards an inevitable MVP season.
  • Nash is trustworthy because he leads by example, and will surround himself with the most co-operating coaches available.
  • Nash is helpful, and a city such as New Orleans loves an underdog who's gone through the ringer to find success, only to transfer that positivity back to where it's is most sought and needed.

Weekly Bieber/Buble halftime duet anyone?