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.
Can he lead players, especially players who were committed to Mark Jackson, who bought into Jackson's style and his message?
The answer is to be determined.
But Kerr has advantages over Jackson, isn't the same mere announcer-turned-head-coach Jackson was. By virtue of his GM experience, Kerr has a background in personnel. Jackson had none. Kerr has a background in player development. Jackson, not so much. As GM, Kerr was a manager. Jackson wasn't. Kerr will get along with ownership. Jackson didn't see the point.
Lacob constantly says Kerr will be "prepared." The word "prepared" is big in his Kerr Lexicon — "very prepared," "incredibly prepared." And it means Kerr will be prepared and Jackson was not prepared. Jackson's lack of preparation showed when the Warriors lost at home to bottom-dweller teams.
And, from what we hear, Kerr is a confident man. That means he will hire the best assistant coaches. Kerr will not feel threatened by a serious basketball man sitting on his bench — he almost certainly needs input from a top-level strategist. Jackson had a horror of being shown up by an assistant. In one conversation with me, he referred to one of his former assistants as an "underling."
Jackson was not up to having a good coaching staff. Kerr will be. He better be.