The Golden State Warriors are off to a remarkable 27-5 start. They are setting franchise records weekly, getting attention in the national spotlight, and players are making cases for numerous different awards such as MVP, 6th Man of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.
Steve Kerr is making a roaring case to be Coach of the Year. It might not even be close. Seldom does a coach come into a league and have an already established team. Kerr had to take over a team that had 51 wins last season. However, Kerr came into a tough spot. Mark Jackson was loved by most of the players. They were given tons of freedom on the court to do what they want. Jackson did not draw up too many plays or make the Warriors do anything too fancy. Unfortunately, it hurt the Warriors in the long run. In the Playoffs, they struggled against the Clippers last season. Doc Rivers knew how to defend Stephen Curry and no one else was able to get anything going. This led to tons of Kevin Love rumors in the offseason. The Warriors thought they should add another established star next to Curry in order for him to succeed. When Kerr was asked for his opinion, he said he wanted to keep the roster as is. He defended shooting guard Klay Thompson, despite his playoff struggles. A form of trust was built by Thompson and Kerr from the start.
It was obvious, the players loved Mark Jackson. The front office felt the opposite. In a professional sports league, the management calls the shots (unless you're LeBron James or Kobe Bryant). Kerr did not join the Warriors to be Superman. He did not put on a cape and play the role of hero. He knew what he had to do. As a broadcaster who openly praised the Warriors during TNT telecasts, Kerr saw the team up close and in person on several occasions. He reached out to players when he was hired by the team. In the offseason, he was spotted in the Bay Area hanging out with Andre Iguodala. He talked to Curry several times. He spoke to every single player and got to know who they are. He even traveled to Australia to spend time with Andrew Bogut.
Kerr moved Iguodala to the bench in favor of Harrison Barnes because of his sophomore slump. Kerr helped Draymond Green develop further by putting him in places he benefited in. Green is a good passer, a stretch-four, and capable of defending any position on the court. Kerr instilled confidence in his players. That's what the great coaches do. He also has little-to-no ego. He was not afraid to hire a former head coach in the league to join his staff; in fact, he was looking for one. He found a gem in Alvin Gentry. He found another one in Ron Adams. His offensive and defensive assistants have helped evolve the team as a whole. They deserve a ton of credit. Both men can be head coaches themselves right now, but have taken smaller roles to help Kerr and the Warriors become elite championship contenders.
Scott Brooks called the Warriors the best team in basketball after Golden State dominated the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night. The Warriors record says they are. They have been playing well, even without Andrew Bogut, despite some questionable losses to both Los Angeles teams. The team recovered and a lot of the credit has to go to the coaching staff. They have insisted on ball movement and unselfishness on offense. They have preached the importance of playing defense first and knowing it's the key to a successful offense. Golden State ranks top ten in offensive and defensive efficiency. They prepare for games well and learn from their lessons. Kevin Durant dropped 30 points in 18 minutes against the Warriors in their second meeting with the Thunder this season. In their third meeting Monday, the Warriors held Durant to under 20 percent shooting from the field. The last time Durant's field goal percentage was that low was in 2009.
Steve Kerr will most likely coach the Western Conference All-Stars this season. The last time a Warriors coach coached an All-Star game was in 1992. Don Nelson led the West over the East in classic Nellie-style with the Western stars scoring 153 points. Nelson won Coach of the Year that year. 23 years later, looks like Kerr might just do the same.