A recent interview from Kevin Durant has sparked controversy around Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors.
A former member of the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant, has some criticism for Steve Kerr. While Durant enjoyed three seasons of success under Kerr, KD claims the Warriors motion offense will only take a team so far.
Expressing his thoughts in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Durant explained that at the end of the day, his ability to score in isolation is what carried the Warriors to the top. He may have a point. The two-time Finals MVP led the team in scoring through each postseason, a major reason the Dubs won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
However, Durant couldn’t be more wrong about Kerr and his motion offense. In order to prove this, let’s look back at the 2013-14 season.
Coming off a surprisingly close playoff series versus the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors looked to make another jump in their development. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were rising stars and the Dubs had enough talent to compete in the West. Under head coach Mark Jackson, the Warriors were snuffed out in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
Understanding the team had reached its peak under Jackson, the front office elected to hire Kerr. In his first season as coach, Kerr implemented a motion offense similar to that of Mike D’Antoni‘s older system with Steve Nash in Phoenix.
The impact of this system happened immediately. Curry exploded for his first MVP season while the Dubs finished with the best record in the league. A team-oriented, pace-and-space offense opened up the floor for Draymond Green to emerge as a star.
Next season, the Dubs took it a step further. Ramping Curry’s usage rate to a career-high, Kerr got the best of his team. Steph became the first player in league history to average 30+ points on 50/40/90 shooting splits as he won the MVP award unanimously.
Even when Kerr was away from the team due to a back injury, the system he had set in place worked beautifully. The Dubs got off to a red hot 27-0 record with assistant coach Luke Walton stepping in for Kerr.
As you can see, the Warriors found more than enough success with Kerr’s system before Durant joined the roster. Adding Durant only magnified their talents and opened up an option for KD to isolate.
At the end of the day, Kerr built an offense that became one of the most potent in league history. There is no doubt that Kerr is a great coach and deserves praise, not criticism.