AP – Steve Kerr is teaching.
That is his silver lining from this season.
After five consecutive years of being number one in the Western Conference — and ending up as NBA champions in three of those seasons — the Warriors are at the bottom of the league. Everyone knows why: Kevin Durant left, Stephen Curry got hurt, Klay Thompson got hurt, D’Angelo Russell got hurt, Andre Iguodala got traded, Shaun Livingston retired, DeMarcus Cousins left … it goes on and on.
“You can’t have worse luck than they’ve had,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said.
But to Kerr’s credit, the Warriors are desperate to make the best of their situation.
This will be a losing season for Kerr, his first in more than a quarter-century. He was a winner almost every year as a player, a winner in each of his three seasons as an executive in Phoenix, a huge winner in his first five seasons as coach. He won five titles as a player, three more as a coach. And next year — with Curry back, Thompson back, a top-five lottery pick likely, plus new faces that the Warriors will be able to add when some money frees up — he could be a title contender again.
What he’s going through this year will make him ready for next year and beyond.
“I think I’ve learned how to be a better coach, honestly,” Kerr said. “I haven’t had to coach a situation like this and it’s a good reminder that every circumstance is different, every year is different. The last five years, we’ve been a championship contender, so it meant that I had to manage the team through the season, prepare for the playoffs and try to get guys rest when we could. This is much more about teaching and developing young players.”
Kerr lost 15 games in his first regular season with the Warriors, 15 more in his third season. The Warriors won the NBA title in each of those years.