Nets Jacque Vaughn well aware heavy workload is unsustainable

Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn speaks during a press conference before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh

Jacque Vaughn knows the workload some of his Nets players have had to endure through the early part of the season won’t be sustainable for the entire year. Thanks to a number of injuries to their roster, Kevin Durant has had to take on a large workload and on Sunday Kyrie Irving played 40 minutes in the loss to the Boston Celtics. 

But Vaughn was sure that it wasn’t something that would a Nets tactic for the entire year. 

“An ideal scope of things we don’t want to play Kevin that amount of minutes going forward,” Vaughn said. “And so hopefully we get to a point where Ben (Simmon’s) minutes aren’t where they were previously. Kai’s minutes aren’t where they were previously like a verse Boston. That we have the depth that we can space and share some of those minutes amongst a few guys going and trending towards where we want to get to once playoffs come around.

“That’s the global look at it. Hopefully, it gets there, but that’s where we’re trending towards.” 

The Nets have started to get healthier as the season has progressed with Ben Simmons expected to return on Friday and Yuta Watanabe eying a return to the court at some point this weekend. T.J. Warren finally made his Nets debut earlier this month and has been able to step in for the Nets as well. 

Brooklyn had also had to make do without Kyrie Irving for eight games following a suspension for an off-the-court issue. With all of that behind them, Vaughn is eying the opportunity to play with a lot more depth on the bench. 

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The Nets coach has tried to take from the past to guide how he has handled his players. Brooklyn went through a similar situation last year while Irving was unable to play because of his refusal to get vaccinated and they relied heavily on Durant and James Harden. 

“It’s twofold. You want to win that day’s game, which is important because that’s important for the psyche and the mentality of the team and the buy-in of the team,” Vaughn explained about what he learned from last year. “And the adjustments and how we plan so that piece, but you know that isn’t sustainable. So I think you’re real with yourself also. That’s why we’ve structured like today, which most teams probably would practice a little bit. We were smart about our look going into today. … Guys hopefully getting their legs back underneath them, so buying some time on both ends.”