After the Golden State Warriors fired head coach Mark Jackson (despite improving the team every single year) last week, it seemed like the Warriors front office already had a person in mind. That person was TNT color commentator Steve Kerr, who inked a five-year deal to coach the team.
This comes as a shock to some people, because a countless amount of media reports had linked Kerr with the New York Knicks under their new president and Kerr’s former coach, Phil Jackson.
“Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he’s done for my career,” Kerr said to NBA.com. “When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they’re going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it’s going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn’t feel right.”
Steve Kerr had a very decorated career as an NBA player, he holds the NBA record for highest career three point field goal percentage and he has also won 5 championships as a player. After Kerr retied in 2003, he became a color commentator for TNT and then left in 2007 to become the President and General Manager of the Phoenix Suns until 2010, only to return to TNT short after.
As much as I absolutely detest the Mark Jackson firing, I must say this could turn out to be a great hire for the Warriors. Kerr is heading into his first head-coaching gig but he has some connections in the Warriors front office already and he also has a great basketball mind that has learned from Phil Jackson for three of his championships and Greg Popovich for his other two championships.
The Warriors’ season ended May 3rd when they lost 126-121 to the Los Angeles Clippers in game 7 in the first round of the playoffs. Shortly after their season ended the Warriors fired former head coach Mark Jackson, which didn’t come as a shock as there were multiple reports of turmoil between the Warriors’ front office and Jackson all season.
Under Mark Jackson, the Warriors increased their wins every year and the Warriors earned back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since the early 1990′s. He also turned a guy from a small school in North Carolina, Stephen Curry, into an All-Star. However, at times Mark Jackson’s offense did have really bad droughts and had a propensity to play iso ball during those droughts.
Steve Kerr knows this roster inside and out and has done plenty of Warriors broadcasts on TNT and has elaborated on the Warriors underwhelming season before, so maybe he already has a decent plan in mind in terms of what the Warriors should be able to do offensively. The other concern for me is if the Warriors defense will take a step back with Kerr coaching, the Warriors were a great defensive team this past season and it was often the defense that kept the Warriors in so many close games. This is an interesting signing but the gamble has to pay off big, or the firing of Mark Jackson will look foolish.