Only recently did Steve Kerr return to the bench as Warriors head coach, so he can’t claim every Golden State win this postseason. He also says he can’t take credit for the team’s tenacity on defense.
The Warriors head coach told reporters on Tuesday that he can’t take credit for how well his team plays on defense, claiming it was instilled in them well before he was hired in 2014.
Steve Kerr says he can’t take credit because Mark Jackson taught the Warriors how to defend before he got there, which is fair. Jackson was fired by Golden State in 2014 because he clashed with assistant coaches publicly and the Warriors owner thought he wasn’t bringing in the best support staff. But clearly his impact on those young Warriors players is something Kerr has reaped the benefits of.
Before he was let go, Jackson had led Golden State to consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in two decades. When Jackson took over in 2011, the Warriors were coming off of a season in which they were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating. Under Jackson, the Warriors saw steady improvement on that end of the floor, going from 28th to 19th to 10th in defensive ratings in Jackson’s three seasons. As much success as Kerr has had with the Warriors, much of it was set up by Jackson, so it’s nice to see him acknowledge that.
Jackson is still well-respected in Golden State, and for good reason. But for all the success Jackson had with the Warriors, the reason he was fired in Golden State is the exact reason why Kerr and the Warriors have won 14 straight postseason games this spring. Unlike Jackson, Kerr assembled a coaching staff that could keep the Warriors firing on all cylinders even if he wasn’t around. Mike Brown’s coaching in Kerr’s absence has been strong, while Jackson reportedly refused to bring in a strong coaching staff around him, leading to his dismissal.