The result was a blowout win, a 129-83 win over Phoenix on a night where Andre Iguodala and others held the clipboard and drew up plays for the Dubs in Oakland.
While the game went on the debate raged about whether Kerr was a genius or simply didn’t care enough about a struggling team like the Phoenix Suns to give a full effort on Monday night. Not coaching the team, it was said, showed he didn’t respect the Suns enough. After the game, Kerr spoke to the media and said it wasn’t about disrespect at all.
“It had nothing to do with me being disrespectful. It had to do with me trying to reach my team. I have not reached them for the last month. They’re tired of my voice. I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last three years. I wasn’t reading them and we thought it was a probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different.”
It’s a fair point, but in deciding how it was a good night for tricks Kerr could be saying the Suns are a weak opponent ripe for this kind of chicanery. In that vein, Suns forward Jared Dudley admitted after the game that he thought it was disrespectful, though he did wonder just how disrespectful it can be considered when the team that’ experimenting still blows out its opponent.
Dudley even addressed it on Twitter on Monday night, chatting with a fan and saying he loves Kerr and “what he stands for.”
He did point out to Doug Gottleib, however, that it’s unlikely Kerr and the Warriors try something like this against a team they’d see in the postseason.
It’s fascinating discussion to have in the middle of the season, because Kerr seems more worried about the long-term state of his team than about winning just one game against the Suns. And, like Gottleib said, the opponent probably didn’t matter to Kerr as much as getting his team right.
There is something to be said for the pride the Warriors should have to match up against Phoenix no matter their struggles this season. But Kerr has to worry about his own team, and Dudley seems to indicate that if the Suns want respect from teams like the Warriors, they need to worry about themselves, too.