The Nets are set to play three games in the next four days, including back-to-back contests on Sunday and Monday, presenting head coach Steve Nash with his first opportunity to experiment with load management.
It’s a tricky, yet important, part of the game that the first-year coach has to navigate carefully, with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming off serious injuries. Earlier this month, Nash said there was no specific plan in place for managing Durant’s and Irving’s minutes, but said it was unlikely they both will play all 72 games.
When Durant was asked after Friday’s win in Boston about the plan for his playing time heading into the next couple of days, the 10-time All-Star said he wasn’t 100 percent sure.
“I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it yet,” Durant said. “I’m going to talk about it with our training staff and coach and see what we come up with. Obviously, I want to play as much as I can, but I definitely want to trust in the training staff and the organization and do what’s best and consult with them on it as well. So we’ll see, but I plan on playing next game.”
The 32-year-old Durant started in every game during his three seasons with the Warriors, averaging 34 minutes per game. But coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, which Nash said is one of the toughest to move on from, Durant is expected to need periodic rest.
“Everything is to be determined, I think still,” Nash said. “We still know that we want to protect our players, but at the same time, we’re not always going to have the opportunity to do that. Sometimes you have to take slight risks to try to give your team the best chance, and if the risk feels too much, then we’ll pull back. And some of those things, you can’t decide until right before the game.
“We have no new limitations or injuries, so we’re going to run it back just like against Golden State and keep building.”
The Nets and Jarrett Allen were unable to agree on a contract extension before the deadline this past Monday, but Nash said he is sure there’s a lucrative deal in the 22-year-old’s future.
“I haven’t talked to him about that,” Nash said. “We’re focused on the season. He has a bright future. He’s going to have a big contract whenever the time is.
“The guy was unbelievable [Friday]. He was good in the first half, he was special in the second half. That’s what it’s going to take to win, especially as we’re forming here, is special efforts and man, he was good. … Defensively, protecting the rim, loose balls, rebounding at both ends, he was outstanding. We’re proud of him and he’s continuing and improving at this stage of his career.”
Allen, in his fourth season in Brooklyn, had nine points and 11 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench against the Celtics.
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