The Nets’ training personnel has suffered some severe churn in Steve Nash’s first two offseasons. But Igor Kokoskov, who used to be employed over the summer season to sign up for Nash’s personnel, isn’t simply an addition — he’s a confidant.
Nash is coming off a summer season that noticed his resident celebrity Kevin Durant attempt to get him fired, and strolling right into a season with sufficient unrest that he used to be lately booed by means of Nets enthusiasts on the workforce’s annual Practice within the Park. He’s going to wish each best friend and stalwart he can get, and Kokoskov qualifies as each.
“We go back a ways,” Nash mentioned wistfully of Kokoskov, who’d labored with him from 2008-12 at the high-octane Suns. “I believe he’s simply helped me.
“In this league, I believe the general public have observed all of it — maximum folks have observed the whole lot — however he helped me in the summertime truly plan and arrange how we need to disseminate our units and our movements and put into effect them. He has been implausible so far as serving to me get readability and group and leap concepts off him and begin to construct one thing.
One of Nash’s first calls when he were given the Brooklyn activity in 2020 used to be a long-distance one to Turkey, all the way through which he attempted to recruit Kokoskov to his first personnel. The Serb had simply taken over Fenerbahçe, and in the long run opted to stick put and lead the workforce to the Turkish finals and EuroLeague playoffs. It took a while, however Nash in the end were given his guy.
Nash had observed defensive coordinator Ime Udoka and offensive coordinator Mike D’Antoni go away after that first season, then some other offensive coordinator Jordan Ott and Amar’e Stoudemire leave after closing season’s tumultuous marketing campaign.
Having performed below D’Antoni and along Stoudemire in Phoenix, Nash had a familiarity with them that helped all the way through his creation to training. This upcoming season he’ll as soon as once more lean closely on some other former Sun, Kokoskov, who’s tasked with being Nash’s 3rd offensive coordinator in as a few years.
“We’ve had such disparate kinds of teams throughout the last couple of years, it’s been really hard,” mentioned Nash. “And this 12 months, confidently, we will be able to save you any problems with the adversity that comes or doesn’t come, and mainly be arranged and dialed in to maintaining the best way we need to play. I believe additionally our roster can maintain extra adversity this 12 months as smartly.
“[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.”
Kokoskov — anticipated to transport the Nets’ clear of being totally isolation-reliant to extra of a movement offense — were an assistant below D’Antoni’s successor, Terry Porter, after which Alvin Gentry for the tail finish of Nash’s top. The pair clicked in large part from seeing the sport the similar manner and having identical offensive philosophies.
“[J]ust incredible offensive encyclopedia,” Nash mentioned of Kokoskov. “He was my assistant coach back in the day in Phoenix for many years and just has great experience, he’s been in the league 25 years.”
Kokoskov, who additionally served because the Suns’ head trainer in 2018-19, has been round, operating as an assistant with the Clippers, Pistons, Cavaliers, Jazz, Kings and Mavericks. He has spent this coaching camp and the preseason seeking to destroy Brooklyn of closing season’s iso behavior and preaching extra movement.
“Ball movement. Ball movement,” Kyrie Irving mentioned of the Nets’ new mantra. “You have a look at a few of our possessions closing 12 months, it used to be numerous one-on-one. You guys mentioned it incessantly, and we have been smartly acutely aware of it, that that offense, when the ball sticks, it’s simply now not the best logo 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.”
A workforce with Irving and Durant is all the time going to make use of isolation, however offensively they’re looking for simple baskets by means of 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 now and then.
Brooklyn’s lend a hand fee used to be fifth-best getting into Friday’s preseason finale in Minnesota, their turnovers falling each recreation, from 27 within the opening loss to 26 towards the Heat to a crisp 14 in Wednesday’s win at Milwaukee.
Kokoskov — who helped Detroit to the 2004 NBA name and Dallas to closing season’s Western Conference Finals — has his fingerprints everywhere that fluctuate.
“Yeah, but I’d say there’s a lot of delegation amongst the staff,” Joe Harris advised The Post. “Igor for sure has a hand in a host of it. There’s numerous enter from numerous the coaches, however the units that we’ve been doing, yeah, were Igor’s implementation.
“They want to put us in certain spots spacing-wise, but then a lot of it is just up to reading and reacting and playing off of one another; because that’s typically when you get your best offense, when you’re able to free flow, play with good pace. But when we need to run stuff, we can. We have the sets in place, motion sets or specific actions.”
The annual GM survey used to be nowhere close to as type to Brooklyn as it’s been previously few years, a results of closing season’s disappointing marketing campaign. But Kokoskov did obtain votes for “best assistant coach,” a class former Nets head trainer Kenny Atkinson — now with Golden State — ran away with.
“I mean, JO (Jordan Ott) was a great basketball mind as well,” Durant mentioned. “We all run the similar form of ideas, simply in keeping with the gamers that you’ve got in a gaggle and in your workforce. So JO added one thing to our workforce this is nonetheless right here, after which Igor is more or less seeking to fine-tune it, and craft it his manner as smartly.
“It’s all a collaborative effort on what we see, where I like the ball, where Ky likes the ball, where Joe wants to shoot it from. We all have those conversations, it’s always flowing on what we need to do to be a better offensive team.”
Who are the ones guys?
Kokoskov isn’t the one new face subsequent to Nash this season. G League trainer Adam Caporn and Nets video coordinator Trevor Hendry each have been promoted to sit down at the bench this season.
“Trevor has been here for six years running the video room; he’s just a grinder, [great] work ethic,” Nash mentioned. “He’s locked himself in that video room all the ones years, so has an ideal care for at the recreation, the NBA recreation, all of the variance right through the league, and I believe it used to be time. He earned the transfer up.
“Capes was our G League coach last year and has an incredible player development acumen, and coaching acumen. So he’s heading player development after he did that at the National Institute in Australia. He’s been an assistant coach on the Australia National Team, he’s been a head coach in the G League and also in the Australian Pro League. So I think he adds a lot to our group on all those levels.”
Barclays Center is celebrating its tenth anniversary this season, alongside with the Nets’ transfer from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
After finishing their prior season at Prudential Center in Newark, the Nets’ first recreation in Barclays used to be a preseason tilt towards the Washington Wizards on October 15, 2012, 10 years in the past Saturday. Their regular-season opener used to be behind schedule by means of Hurricane Sandy, however came about Nov. 3 with a win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Nets and mother or father corporate BSE Global are making plans a number of commemorative occasions.