Nets Steve Nash still tempering excitement over lineup stability

Nets
Nets center Andre Drummond tips off against Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee during the first quarter at Barclays Center.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Even with Kyrie Irving back in the lineup full-time and the Nets seemingly getting healthier by the day, Steve Nash wasn’t getting too excited about the idea of a consistent starting five.

Considering the year the Nets have had it’s hard to blame the Brooklyn coach for his cautiousness to it all in the final two weeks of the season. A set lineup has been far from a luxury the Nets have had and Sunday marked one of the few times in recent months that they were able to start the same five players in consecutive games.

Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Kevin Durant, Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond started both games over the weekend marking just the fifth time they’ve all been on the floor together to start.

[READ: Unvaxxed Kyrie Irving on return to Barclays Center: ‘I’m standing for freedom’]

“I’m very hesitant to pretend that’s just gonna be the way it is,” Nash said with a laugh about finally having a set starting five and rotation. “But it would be great if we could have some continuity here and make the most of these remaining games. So that we can put ourselves further along and be prepared and more cohesion. More of an understanding of our style of play together.

“The further we get there I think it’s paramount for our success or opportunity to play in the playoffs.”

Brooklyn has been hard-pressed when it’s come to a consistent lineup this season with all of the injuries that have popped up. Even now, the Nets are nowhere near out of the water yet.

Seth Curry will have to be monitored the rest of the way after he hurt his ankle last week after hitting the floor hard during Brooklyn’s win over Utah. He played just 12 minutes in the game before the incident occurred and this came on the heels of missing three games with an ankle ailment earlier in the month.

Curry’s situation is part of the reason why Nash is tempering his optimism a bit.

The Nets also know the importance that Curry has to the team in terms of its offense. The guard has been one of the key scoring weapons for the Nets behind Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and took a lot of the pressure off of Patty Mills.

The absence of Joe Harris, who won’t return until next season, had forced Mills to pick up a lot of the slack in the shooting department.

Brooklyn has taken advantage of Curry’s near 49% shooting from beyond the arc and 50% shooting from the field since he was traded to Brooklyn in February. He’s averaged 15.3 points per game and 3.1 three-pointers per game in that span.

“We definitely have to manage Seth here,” Nash said. “We don’t have the luxury to sit him all the time. If we have the choice, we really need him, so we’ll see. We’ve just got to do the best we can and manage his health the rest of the way, and hopefully he can maintain a level of comfort playing through some discomfort. He played really well, I thought, last night, so, you know, it’s not where it’s debilitating.

“If we can kind of keep him out of that category then I think we’ll be OK.”

What does help the Nets cause a bit is the fact that they have Irving back full-time and that will ease the burden off of some o the team’s other role players. Curry, Mills and Bruce Brown just to name a few have had to play more prominent roles with the lineup flux.

Now that necessity is eliminated.

“Having (Irving) back allows us, theoretically on paper because we haven’t had the luxury, to not overburden everyone,” Nash said. “To not have to play Seth 35 minutes a night with his ankle situation and it goes down the line to other players. I think that is very important as well.”

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