Humboldt Beacon (http://www.humboldtbeacon.com)

How Steve Kerr's talented roster helped him build culture he wanted


By Mark Medina, Bay Area News Group

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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OAKLAND — The Warriors considered Steve Kerr the right man for the job. Even if he lacked head-coaching experience, Kerr had credibility as a former NBA sharpshooter and a league executive. He also had the personality and philosophies that jibed well with the Warriors’ front office.
As Kerr admitted, though, “I came in with a lot of ideas. But I wasn’t sure if I really knew what the hell I was doing.”
The Warriors (41-12) enter Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (30-24) with strong evidence to suggest that he does know what he is doing. Kerr will coach in his 300th game on Tuesday with a record that ranks among the top of all NBA coaches. He has gone 248-51 through three NBA seasons that has coincided with three Finals appearances and two NBA titles. Whenever Kerr wins his next two games to reach 250 career wins, Elias Sports Bureau noted that he will accomplish that feat in fewest games coached in NBA history.
As Kerr noted, only he had the kind of talent in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to reach such a milestone. It also helped that Kerr has coached Kevin Durant for the past 1 1/2 seasons.
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“The key for any coach is to have talent at the beginning. When you have a lot of talent from the beginning of your coaching career, you can implement things that will work,” Kerr said. “Then you can get credibility with winning, and grow as a coach while you’re winning. It’s a much easier process that way. I was very fortunate to have this job as a first one.”
The Warriors’ players sounded just as grateful to play for Kerr.
“It’s just his demeanor and his intensity at the same time. He is calm and cool and can be fiery at the same time. I enjoy playing for him,” Durant said. “He gets the best out of everybody and demands a lot out of everybody. He holds everyone accountable. That’s what great coaches do.”
So despite Kerr’s modesty, he is on pace to surpass even the most elite NBA coaches. Former Chicago Bulls coach and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson won an NBA record 11 NBA titles, but it took him 346 games to record 250 wins. Miami Heat president Pat Riley won five NBA championship with the Showtime Lakers and one NBA title with the Miami Heat, but he needed 348 games to collect 250 victories. Kerr has achieved such success by offering a joyful and fun working environment, while remaining a stickler for fundamentals and team play through detailed practices and film study.
“I think any coach wants to implement a culture where you want to have a style and you want that style to be reflected in your daily routine,” Kerr said. “I think for me, having the players that we do made my vision of the team so much easier to achieve because of it.”
Kerr then deferred credit back to his players.
Kerr argued that Curry “sets the tone” both with his shooting, selflessness and joy that is “like he’s 10 years old every game just having so much fun.” Kerr described Green and Andre Iguodala as players “that hate to lose.” And Kerr considered Thompson “quietly and incredibly competitive.”
“We have a great mix of guys who love to play, love to win, who put the work in, but don’t take themselves too seriously,” Kerr said.
And the Warriors have a coach that approaches his job the same way.
“One thing he’s always been talking about is having fun, having that joy and compassion and appreciation for what we do and what we have,” Green said. “We play basketball for a living. We all should enjoy that. If there’s anything, we all know the basketball things. Its about having that joy and we get an opportunity to do everyday.”