Steve Nash to stay ‘simple’ with Kyrie Irving lineup changes

Steve Nash has two different rosters: A road team and a home team, one with Kyrie Irving and one without. 

The Nets’ coach plans to keep the roster juggling to a minimum. He just slid Patty Mills back into the starting lineup for Friday’s 121-109 loss to the Bucks and will give Irving the nod on the road, rather than tearing up the rotations the Nets have spent almost half the season honing and starting over from scratch. 

“Yeah, I don’t think that’s the approach. I think it’s to be simple,” Nash said. “Two things. One, keeping it simple is best for everyone. Two, something is always going on with our squad and availability, so we’re mixing-and-matching often. So keeping it simple in this case is probably the best way, and the way that makes the most sense. 

“And if you strip it all down, you’re probably overthinking it as well.” 

Steve Nash will keep his lineup changes ‘simple’ when Kyrie Irving (top right) is not available at home.
Getty, USA TODAY Sports

Mills extended a funk Friday with a three-point night, going 1-for-8 from the field and making him 11-for-40 in his last five games. 

Part of that is fatigue, being asked to play a career-high 30.8 minutes. That’s six more than he averaged last season, and 5.3 more than his career-high from 2017-18. 

Patty Mills had just three points in the Nets' loss to the Bucks.
Patty Mills had just three points in the Nets’ loss to the Bucks.
Robert Sabo

“For me the Kyrie situation hopefully helps Patty,” Nash said. “We’ve seen him almost be overused and over-depended on, and it’s been difficult for him at times to continue his level of play because we overburdened him. So can Kyrie keep [Mills’] minutes in a sweet spot where he can keep a consistently high level? 

“He’s been terrific on and off the floor, he’s unbelievable to have in our group. But we’ve asked him to play a lot of 30s and high 30s during this last month or so. Without Joe [Harris], without Kyrie, that’s a big burden on him. So, can this help him stay fresher and stay at a high level would be the added bonus of having Kyrie back for Patty.” 

Harris is still recovering from an ankle injury and Irving just made his season debut Wednesday at Indiana — and is ineligible to play at home — so Mills made his 22nd start of the season Friday. 

Mills had only made 57 starts in his career before this season, 36 of those in 2017-18. He is more accustomed to coming off the bench, but the Nets simply can’t afford to keep him in a sixth man role at home. 

“I don’t think we can do that without Joe. With Joe Harris out, we just need his shooting ability, experience,” Nash said. “But eventually with Joe coming back, he could find a more comfortable amount of minutes. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t play 30-plus some nights; but not all the time where we’re really taxing him.” 

The Nets started Mills, James Harden, Kevin Durant, David Duke Jr. and Nic Claxton against the Bucks. It was their 17th starting lineup of the season, and sixth straight game with a different group.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Las Vegas Aces Star A’ja Wilson Leads Early Returns In Fan Votes For 2024 WNBA All-Stars –