When it rains, it pours for the Nets this season. Just minutes before the tipoff of Monday’s game against the Toronto Raptors the team announced that head coach Steve Nash was placed in health and safety protocol and that assistant Jacque Vaughn would take over coaching duties.
The announcement came just over an hour after Nash had addressed reporters for pregame media availability. Vaughn and the players were told as they were making their final preparations for the game, which the Nets lost in lopsided fashion.
“We found out with like 30 on the clock,” Bruce Brown said. “I mean it’s tough, you miss your head coach, but this the world we live in. You gotta deal with the situations.
The Nets have not dealt with any COVID-related issues since the beginning of the year after an outbreak decimated the team’s roster. The outbreak which began in mid-December forced the postponement of three games on the Nets schedule.
Despite the jarring news about Steve Nash right before the game was about to begin, the Nets weren’t trying to use that as an excuse for the loss on Monday night.
“You just can’t buy into that,” James Johnson said. “I felt JV, (David Vanterpool), our coaching staff did a great job. We had a gameplan, but like I said it’s up to the players to execute that.”
Monday wasn’t Vaughn’s first time serving as the head coach for the Nets. Vaughn had stepped into the role in March of 2020 after then-coach Kenny Atkinson and the team mutually parted ways.
Vaughn coached the Nets to a 7-3 record during his 10 games leading the team and served as head coach for another four games during the playoffs that season. He returned to his role as an assistant after the Nets hired Steve Nash.
Vaughn has been with the Nets since 2016 when he was hired as an assistant under Atkinson. He also served as head coach of the Orlando Magic from 2012 to 2015.