As a longtime observer of Warriors basketball and even covering it for a short period of time, my initial reaction about the Steve Kerr hiring by the Warriors was ‘meh.’ Don’t get me wrong now, Golden State was able to land the top name candidate out there, one that equally captivated Phil Jackson, who’s running things in Gotham, so he must be good, right? Listen, the Warriors in years past would never, ever be able to woo a high-profile head coaching candidate. It shows just how far the Warriors have come when a coach spurns the Knicks.
Kerr has the championship pedigree as a player, has strong ties to the team brain-trust, experienced with personnel decisions as a former GM himself, but we have no idea how he will be as a coach. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The same was said about Jackson when he was hired, but he eventually learned to motivate the team and instilled the need to play tough on defense. The players bought into it. His short-comings came out with his in-game strategy. Stephen Curry needed an offensive scheme that truly utilizes his talents more. Perhaps Kerr will provide that to him. From all the All-Stars being shipped off over the years from Golden State to the long playoff droughts, Warriors fans have endured a lot with an unwavering loyalty to this franchise.
It’s nice to have an ownership group declaring the goal to be the NBA Finals or bust, but on the other hand, expectations need to be somewhat tempered and realistic here. The Warriors have more or less really burst onto the scene as a force only over the last 2 years. It’s not like the Celtics with a long tradition of winning titles. Golden State is building something meaningful, but now they want it built at warp-speed with everyone living inside. We’ll never know if Mark Jackson would’ve been the answer. Golden State is now a pressure-cooker situation. Yeah, I never thought I would write that last sentence either, but that’s the new reality Kerr is walking into. Let’s hope, for his sake, he realizes what he’s walking into.