Steve Kerr is making a statement. For now, the Golden State Warriors’ head coach is the clear frontrunner for the 2021-2022 Coach of The Year award. However, it does not seem like that is his primary goal. Kerr is pushing to be the best NBA coach of his generation.
Yes, the Warriors sit on a comfortable 11-1 start, which might lead to another dominant championship-level season.
The Golden State Warriors have started 11-1, and Steve Kerr should be the clear frontrunner for Coach of the Year. Is he the best coach in the NBA?
Yet, this is not the only argument on how Kerr continues to improve even after multiple championships and individual accolades. The gaffer is showcasing innovative lineups, intelligent in-game adjustments, and deep knowledge of his roster.
The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA by a solid margin so far, endorsed by the season’s stats.
They lead the league in net rating (+14.4), almost twice as much as second-place Utah Jazz (+7.8). They are the best defense in basketball and the only team below the 100 mark in defensive rating. The second-best offense, with 113.6 points created per 100 possessions.
The Warriors lead the NBA in points per game, three-pointers made, assists, and steals. They are, at least, in the top three in rebounds (defensive, offensive, total rebounds) and field goal percentage. These are signs of a very efficient and versatile team from top to bottom.
However, you can have versatile and efficient NBA players that maybe will not fit your system. So, this is one of Kerr’s merits: emphasizing players’ strengths and hiding their weaknesses.
There is a well-developed culture in the Warriors franchise, and everyone that hits the floor knows what they need to do to fit in. The players are encouraged to push the pace (6th in the NBA), move the ball, set screens, and flow off-ball through the spots of the floor.
The defense is unpredictable, able to switch everything or go zone when necessary. On offense, the three-point menace is a never-ending trademark. The Dubs are a team with very high standards in terms of IQ.
First of all, Steve Kerr is doing a great job in staggering Jordan Poole’s and Curry’s minutes, so the team always has at least one of the two on the floor. This is a facilitating factor for every lineup off the bench, one of the reasons the Warriors have positive players all across the rotation.
When you have versatile and savvy players like Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee, Otto Porter, and Andre Iguodala, you diminish the pressure of having a primary ball-handler to carry the offense, making all units even more cohesive and unselfish.
Recently, Kerr adjusted to having Steph Curry finishing every quarter, and it’s paying off beautifully. Since the Memphis loss, the Warriors played 28 quarters and only lost 9 (3 after garbage time).
On the defensive end, Kerr is locking teams up in terms of opponent shooting percentages.
Even though there is only one conventional big on the roster (Looney, who is only 6-foot-9), Kerr built a defense that protects the paint, holding opponents to a league-best mark of 23 attempts inside 6 feet (on a 60% FG, solid top 10 mark).
Teams only shoot 31% from the perimeter against the Warriors.
These stats are signals of a squad that plays tough interior defense, with grit, quick feet, and active hands to avoid easy inside looks. Even though they are playing in a small-ball style, the Dubs protect the interior with versatility, switching, and quickness.
They would prefer to let teams shoot a heavily-contested three, grab a rebound and run a quick offense. Opponents average only 37 makes from the field per game, another NBA best. They are a matchup nightmare.
All that said, the player development part is an understatement. It is clear that Jordan Poole has not found his shooting groove, yet his production is key to the squad.
Curry is on a new physical and defensive peak, reaching new levels as a player and legacy builder. It is impossible not to credit Steve Kerr for his confidence-building, knowledge, and intelligence when dealing with people.
We all know the great coach that Kerr already is. But can he be the best in today’s NBA? Is he already the best? Maybe we can find it out this season.