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Lowell Cohn: Landing Steve Kerr shows Warriors ownership not afraid (w/video)

  • Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob, left, and Peter Guber during Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 16, 2013. San Antonio won 94-82. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Kerr, to the extent we know anything about him, is a better choice than Mark Jackson who was almost a detonation bomb in the Warriors' hierarchy. He didn't get along with the basketball operations people. He had an unfortunate us-vs.-them style. And the "them" included most people in the organization who didn't wear playing shorts. I'm told he did not allow the team announcers to eat with the team on the road. Them.

Jackson did not have the savvy to get along with ownership. He was an all-around problem. For all those reasons, the Warriors were right to get rid of him and right to hire a new coach.

That leads to the next question, the really important question. When the Warriors hired a new coach in principle, did they hire the right coach?

Kerr never has coached a game in the NBA. Never coached a game anywhere, as far as we know. Jackson never had been a coach, either. While never coaching any games is not a deal breaker, it's not exactly a strong feature on someone's job application.

INTERVIEWER: "Steve, it says here you want to coach our professional basketball team. What experience do you have in this particular area?"

KERR: "None, sir."

INTERVIEWER: "You're hired."

Kerr's attributes seem to be, in principle, that he has a long career as a player, that he played on five championship teams under Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, that he was general manager in Phoenix three years and that he's currently an announcer.

One of his most attractive features, it seems, is his friendship with Phil Jackson, the Zen Master Coach, Kerr's pal. The thinking goes — if Phil wanted Steve for the Knicks, Steve must be pretty hotsy-totsy. Call it brilliance through friendship. The Warriors saw that and wanted Steve too.

When all the euphoria drains out, as euphoria always does, we are left with one big salient shrieking question: Can Steve Kerr be a top-level coach in the NBA? He's reportedly getting $25 million for five years. That's top-level dough.


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