Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash has yet to coach an NBA game, and his star players -- Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving -- have yet to play a game together. But that didn't stop him from embracing the team's sky-high expectations during a virtual town hall with season-ticket holders Tuesday afternoon.
"We're playing for a championship," Nash said during the event, which aired on the YES Network. "I don't want to say that anything less than a championship is not a success because you never know what happens in life, you never know the way the ball bounces. Fortune is a big part of winning an NBA championship.
"But we are playing for a championship and we're going to build accordingly. We're going to frame everything we do in the lens of, 'Is this a championship characteristic?' or 'Is this worth championship quality?'"
While last campaign was always seen as a consolidation year while Durant recovered from a torn Achilles tendon -- and later officially became one when Irving missed most of the campaign with shoulder issues -- that won't be the case next season, when both are expected to be healthy.
Accordingly, the Nets are expected to be active in trying to upgrade the roster around them.
That puts a lot of pressure on Nash, who was a shocker hire by the Nets last month after never having publicly signaled an interest in coaching previously. And, as he and the Nets learn about each other on the job, he laid out a few things he will be checking to see how things are going.
"Are we growing?" Nash asked. "Are we striving? Are we pressure-tested? Are we continually asking of each other and ourselves that individual collective growth every day and creating an environment that is fun but challenging and collaborative?
"If those tenets are being met, there's a lot of success and reward in that. But we are playing for a championship."
When Nash was asked about his coaching philosophy during the town hall, he went out of his way to echo the language Irving used -- precisely saying that he wants players to be able to collaborate with the coaches on what the team is going to be doing.
Nash credited his longtime coach with the Phoenix Suns, Mike D'Antoni, for having a similar methodology with him as a player.