Now, Steve Kerr really has to coach.
The Warriors are in chaos heading into the playoffs. Their All-Stars are injured, and their two-time MVP, Stephen Curry, may be out with a sprained MCL until the second round of the playoffs, if the Warriors even make it that far.
Let’s see what Kerr can do.
Sure, he’s a good coach. But, he never had to do much the past three seasons.
Kerr inherited the motherlode of talent when the Warriors hired him in 2014. We’re talking Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Kerr simply installed his offensive system, sat back and watched arguably the most talented team of all time steamroll the rest of the league.
A lot of coaches could have won with the Warriors the past three years — not just Kerr. Both Luke Walton and Mike Brown were extremely successful coaching the Warriors when Kerr was out with back problems, because coaching the Warriors was easy. They basically coached themselves.
In fact, they did coach themselves earlier this season against the Phoenix Suns when Kerr turned over the coaching duties to his players. And they won.
Now, they need serious coaching with things approaching desperation level. What can Kerr do now?
Kerr’s scheme doesn’t work so well without Curry running around screens and making opponents panic on defense. Kerr has to remake his offense only three weeks before the playoffs. That’s a real challenge, would be for any coach.
If Kerr wins the championship this season, he’ll pull off his greatest achievement with the Warriors. And we’ll learn what makes him a good coach.
If Kerr doesn’t win the championship this season, we’ll learn his limitations, if he has any.
This past Thursday after practice, Kerr seemed to be building up his excuses, just in case the Warriors get eliminated during the playoffs. He didn’t exude his usual confidence.
This was the day before Curry returned from a sprained right ankle which had kept him off the floor the previous two weeks. This also was the day before Curry seriously sprained his left knee against the Atlanta Hawks, although no one knew it yet, of course.
Kerr was talking to the local reporters, who were reluctant to ask about Curry’s return and the extent of his recovery. This seemed strange. They were asking about Draymond Green’s pelvic injury and Kevin Durant’s rib injury and the “encouraging” progress those players were making.
And the reporters were asking about Klay Thompson, if it’s a good thing he broke his right thumb because he gets to practice shooting lefty now. I think that was a serious question. The general idea amounted to this: Do all these injuries have a silver lining?
No, I wanted to blurt out. These injuries don’t have a silver lining. There’s nothing silver or gold or platinum about them. They’re a potential disaster.
Finally, on the seventh question of the group interview, someone asked about Curry’s ankle. “With Steph the rest of the way, how focused will you be on how he’s responding to landing (on his foot)?”
Not the most direct question. Kerr could have given a non-answer and moved on to the next topic if he wanted.