In Igor Kokoskov, Nets have found new offensive guru

In the weeks sooner than the hole of preseason, there was once a bit of of puzzle about what the Nets offense would seem like … and what it wouldn’t seem like.

Steve Nash discussed on September 30, the second one day of coaching camp that the Nets can be “changing some of our schemes” and will likely be “resetting in a lot of ways.” That intended a extra vast open offense that can rely much less on isolation performs. The Nets led the league in iso’s final season and as Patty Mills stated on the time that resulted in stagnant units.

“Definitely felt the stagnant type of offense last year, but it was just trying to find ways to stay involved and keep the movement,” Mills stated. “It was a challenge.”

Former Nets chimed in over the low season with Goran Dragic complaining that by the point he arrived in Brooklyn final March, “I have to admit that it was quite difficult because the focus was not the team, but more the individual performances of the individual players.”

Now with the preseason over, no matter thriller existed has been solved. The Nets are enjoying a wide-open offense with ball motion, dribble handoffs, plenty of working and the antithesis of final yr. And we haven’t even observed vital contributions from the NBA’s two absolute best 3-point shooters via share, Joe Harris and Seth Curry.

So what modified? As Brian Lewis writes for Sports+ this weekend, offensive coordinator Igor Kokoskov could be as just right a solution as you’ll in finding. Nash has described Kokoskov as “an incredible offensive encyclopedia,” a trainer who has 19 years an as assistant plus head training gigs in Phoenix and with the Serbian and Slovenian nationwide groups.

“We go back a ways,” the Nets head trainer stated of Kokoskov who was once an assistant on Nash’s “7 Seconds or Less” Suns from 2008 thru 2013. “I believe he’s simply helped me.

“In this league, I think most people have seen it all — most of us have seen everything — but he helped me in the summer really plan and organize how we want to disseminate our sets and our actions and implement them. He has been fantastic as far as helping me get clarity and organization and bounce ideas off him and start to build something.”

Nash has been after the now 50-year-old since he first were given the top training activity with the Nets in 2020. At the time, Kokoskov was once about to embark on a European head training gig with for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball Super League and the EuroLeague. He returned to the NBA as an assistant trainer with Dallas final season then took the activity with Brooklyn in early July. No one was once paying a lot consideration then to assistant trainer hires, no longer with Kevin Durant having demanded a industry every week sooner than and Kyrie Irving’s state of affairs simplest quite much less unsettled. But multiple pundit steered on the time that Kokoskov may have been the Nets absolute best low season acquisition.

That Nash would depend as soon as once more on his Suns roots isn’t a lot of a wonder. Like any government, Nash wishes confidants. And like D’Antoni, Kokoskov has lengthy been thought to be some of the most sensible basketball minds within the NBA, specifically on offense.

“[Kokoskov] has been incredible. It’s been great to work with an old friend as well, and he’s really helped me in a lot of ways.”

Of direction, it’s is at all times concerning the gamers — the display horses and paintings horses — for any trainer, head or assistant, in any recreation. No horses, no parade as multiple trainer has stated at quite a lot of instances in quite a lot of techniques through the years.

“We’ve had such disparate kinds of teams throughout the last couple of years, it’s been really hard,” stated Nash in a sort appraisal of the Nets “issues.” “And this year, hopefully, we can prevent any issues with the adversity that comes or doesn’t come, and basically be organized and dialed in to sustaining the way we want to play. I think also our roster can sustain more adversity this year as well.”

The beneficiaries of final season’s iso configurations say they aren’t in any respect unsatisfied with the trade, as Lewis writes.

“Ball movement. Ball movement,” Kyrie Irving stated. “You have a look at a few of our possessions final yr, it was once numerous one-on-one. You guys mentioned it incessantly, and we have been neatly acutely aware of it, that that offense, when the ball sticks, it’s simply no longer the best emblem of basketball you’ll play.

“We’re giving the defense some nights off when we just go one-on-one. … [There] can be a time and place when we utilize that, but right now, having Ben [Simmons] be one of our lead guards and him getting up and down the court, the ball’s hopping, it feels good.”

One of the important thing items in that transition from iso to the new wide-open offense favored what he noticed as neatly.

“Overall, as a team I thought we played great. We moved the ball and we’re finding our identity,” stated Ben Simmons stated of the Nets 112-102 win over the TWolves.

Like any assistant trainer, Kokoskov is not going to get a lot credit score (or blame) because the season performs out, however at this level, it seems like he’s crucial add-on.

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