There was some controversy when Kerr won Coach of the Year in 2016. Although the Warriors went 73-9, breaking the regular-season wins record, back surgery meant he was only on the bench for 39 games of the historic campaign.
Passing the 1996 Chicago Bulls, a team Kerr was part of as a player, was such an incredible feat that it was deemed impossible not to give him the award.
However, this time around, he will not be able to contend for the award through the winning-a-ridiculous-number-of-games blueprint.
Instead, he must do what has been impossible for the Warriors to do since for at least three seasons; overachieve.
Doc Rivers finished runner-up in Coach of the Year last June by taking a written-off Clippers team to the playoffs. With Lob City officially concluded, Los Angeles’ unfashionable franchise was expected to decline, but they stunned much of the NBA by making the postseason, at the Lakers’ expense.
The Warriors’ prospects are not quite as bleak as the Clippers’ appeared this time last year but Kerr, like Rivers, will be forced to silence the doubters after seeing big names removed from his squad.
This gives Kerr an opportunity to prove that he can mold a team to be greater than the sum of its parts, allowing him to prove that he does not need several great players at his disposal to be successful.
Should he guide the Warriors to another 55-win season and a high seed, a feat that is unlikely but far from impossible, the award may just be Kerr’s to lose.