The best is yet to come from the Golden State Warriors coaching staff.
With a younger and more inexperienced roster, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his staff are going to be more challenged than they ever have been. In an interview yesterday, he recognized that, and for his staff, their best coaching is yet to come.
When Steve Kerr took over the Warriors as a new coach, he joined a team led by an established group, in addition to veterans with playoff experience. In a lot of ways, his coaching style could be looked at more as that of a chaperone, especially as they added Durant, rather than a strict head coach.
As the team moves forward following the turnover from this offseason, he’s looking at a roster with a solid core, but multiple young pieces with little to no playoff experience.
He’s going to have to develop players more than he ever has in his short five-year coaching career, and at a faster pace than he ever has. And he knows that.
Their best example for success is Kevon Looney, who started to resemble a bust until this last season.
But Looney’s growth and the team’s commitment to him as a “foundational piece” per Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area, is an indicator that this staff is capable of grooming young players.
The growth and development stage of the core mainly happened with the Warriors during the Mark Jackson era where they established themselves as a unit, so this will be the first time young development is a requirement for Kerr and his staff.
In yesterday’s interview with YouTube channel Let’sGoWarriors, he highlighted the need to do just that, and said, “the first part of the season, training camp, and then the first month or two will be critical in establishing our identity as a team.” He would go on to say that there is “a lot of work ahead”, and “we don’t know who we are”.
The birth of the Curry-Thompson-Green dynasty can essentially be dated to a specific time and place, via a Draymond Green buzzer-beater in Miami over the Lebron-led Heat, during those Mark Jackson years on December 11, 2012. You can expect there will be plenty of opportunities for those types of moments this season.
To make things difficult for Kerr, he’ll be missing Klay Thompson for a majority of the year. It will be intriguing to see if they run an entirely new offense shaped around Russell, or if they try to substitute Russell for Klay in a similar offense to what they ran without Kevin Durant in the lineup during the 2019 playoffs.
In addition to Russell only being 23 years old, per Nick Freidell at ESPN, the team is now the 8th youngest in the NBA. Steph is the oldest player on the team, and he’s still in the prime of his career at 31 years of age.
Outside of the main core in Steph and Draymond, and in addition to 8-year vet Alec Burks who is still looking to have a full 82-game season in the NBA, the staff is looking at developing ten players, not the smallest undertaking, especially when winning and competing at an ultra-high level is still expected.
The inaugural season in the Chase Center only adds to the pressure on the coach and team.
While they are no longer the favorites for the title, they are still the reigning Western Conference Champions and Pacific Division Champions.
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Kawhi and LeBron will still need to earn those titles, Dame in Portland will still be looking to win a playoff game against Stephen Curry and the Jazz will still need to prove they can beat the Rockets and Warriors.
Denver is still developing their young roster as well, as they made the playoffs for the first time since Andre Iguodala was on their team in 2012-13, only to be beaten by the Blazers in the second round.
The Spurs, who many are comparing the Warriors to as an organization, are fighting for a playoff seed as well, with stars like DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
With such a young roster, Kerr will have the chance to give several young guys playing time. As fans, we’ll have a chance to see just how good of a coach he really is, because in the past he’s been graced with tremendously talented players with years of experience, something that makes practices much different than they will be this season.
He’ll have to make sure not to recede, and there are teams waiting in the wings like the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans, who are stacked with young future all-stars, and hungry for a playoff berth.
Kerr will need to draw on his experience playing under Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, arguably two of the greatest coaches of all-time, to shape the young players into a formidable roster again.
He’ll have a chance to absorb more knowledge from Gregg Popovich this offseason as he coaches under him as an assistant in the FIBA World Cup from August 31 until the games end on September 15.
For the first time in his tenure, we’ll have a glimpse at a team that’s a work in progress, and much like his time with Team USA, he’ll have the ability to experiment more than he ever has. It’s dangerous to assume that a staff as successful as his, despite how many departures there have been in guys like Alvin Gentry, Luke Walton, and Willie Green, won’t find a groove this season.
The league should be on notice that they’ll be seeing things they haven’t even considered yet from Steve Kerr and his coaching staff. There’s a new ceiling on this new team, and plenty to be expected.
We’ll just have to wait and see what that looks like this October.