Steve Nash isn't a 'scapegoat' – he failed spectacularly with the Nets

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By , Audacy Sports

Steve Nash was sacked by the Nets on Tuesday after two underwhelming years on the bench -- and, according to many journalists and pundits, the Hall of Famer was somehow done dirty by the flailing organization.

Most prominent among the critics of Nash's long overdue firing was TNT's Charles Barkley, who called his fellow Hall of Famer a "scapegoat" for the debacle that is the Nets during the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving era.

No doubt that Durant, Irving, general manager Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai bear much of the blame for the Nets' shortcomings, but Nash is by no means an innocent bystander here.

In fact, while national media was largely sympathetic to Nash, most Nets fans rejoiced at the news of his ouster.

For one thing, the former two-time NBA MVP skipped the proverbial line in assuming his ill-fated role with the Nets, having no prior coaching experience, let alone head coaching experience.

Whether race was a factor -- as Stephen A. Smith famously suggested -- is debatable.

In fact, the Nets, under different ownership, had dipped into the well of recently retired superstars to find a head coach in the past, once tabbing Jason Kidd under similar circumstances.

Kidd's tenure was similarly disastrous. Derek Fisher didn't exactly fare well with the Knicks, either.

The difference is that Nash was supposed to be taking over a team with title aspirations.

In any event, it was plainly obvious that Nash was woefully ill-equipped for the job.

From his bizarre and frustrating rotations to his apparent inability to corral the big egos and bigger personalities in the Nets' unwieldy locker room, Nash had no business being a head coach, let alone for a contender led by a group of established superstars.

Durant and Irving, who supposedly wanted Marks to hire former Nets assistant Ime Udoka -- now suspended by the Celtics -- before Nash was hired, seemed to undermine Nash from the get-go.

Irving famously turned heads when he remarked that the Nets didn't have a "head" coach, suggesting that the team had a flat hierarchy where the core group could take turns leading the team on any given day.

The seeming lack of respect for Nash came to a head in the offseason, when Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum that either he be traded or Marks and Nash be fired.

The Nets balked, only to turn around and fire Nash after a disappointing 2-4 start -- just two-plus seasons after he took the job.

The stunning development sealed what must be a bitterly disappointing failure for Nash, who surely had dreams of parachuting onto a team with Hall of Fame talent -- a la Steve Kerr -- and finally securing the ring(s) that had eluded him throughout his decorated playing career.

Instead, Nash is again a central figure in a failed superteam, a role he reprises from his doomed late-career stint with the Lakers, when Los Angeles started five past-their-prime All-Stars.

It may not be fair, but neither was Nash's hiring in the first place. Marks has to answer for that, and already he is trying to atone for it by reportedly trying to hire Udoka -- despite the obvious ethical implications and public-relations nightmare.

The name of the game is winning, which is why Udoka will get another shot and Nash has been sent packing. At the end of the day, Nash didn't do enough winning.

That's not scapegoating. It's called accountability -- something Nash was unable to coax from his mercurial superstars, the same ones who, by the way, were on the roster when he took the job, and were widely known to be difficult to handle.

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