Breaking Down the Golden State Warriors' Coaching Staff
Just like the Dubs did with Jackson, they picked a rookie as their next coach. However, this time, Joe Lacob and company had to fight off the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson to secure Kerr’s services.
Kerr has a lot of tools, but how is he going to set up the coaches around him? Offense is the biggest topic being discussed with a combination of an open style and the triangle meshed together.
But what about the defense? This area definitely holds major weight, since the team would not deal Klay Thompson in a potential Kevin Love trade.
Coach Kerr needs to find a balance with the brainpower and skill sets that he has hired to support him on the bench. With all of pieces now in place, how will they mesh as a group?
Let’s take a closer look.
Ron Adams was hired by Coach Kerr to be the defensive guru of the new Warriors staff. The 66-year-old Adams has over two decades of experience that includes runs with the San Antonio Spurs (1992-94), Philadelphia 76ers (1994-96), Milwaukee Bucks (1998-2003), Chicago Bulls (2004-07, 2010-13), Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-10) and Boston Celtics (2013-14).
Adams has worked with some of the NBA’s young and strongest talent in the likes of Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant in recent seasons. He also has the benefit of working with some of the league's top coaches in Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau.
Adams will be a good fit for the Dubs because besides defense, he also coaches shooting. With Coach Kerr’s high-flying offense, Adams can work with the forwards to show them how to successfully hit the longer jumpers.
He is also a calming influence, as reported by The Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes. He relies on his 20-plus years of experience, basketball IQ and direct approach to improve his players.
He should have a profound effect on Stephen Curry, as Adams spent a lot of time working with Rajon Rondo last season.
Luke Walton is a newbie in the coaching world, as he just finished his first year as a player development coach with the NBA D-League Los Angeles D-Fenders. However, Walton has a special skill set that Kerr should be excited to have on board.
Walton played 10 seasons in the NBA, which featured two NBA titles with then-coach Phil Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers. Coach Jackson employed his brand of the triangle offense and was extremely successful.
Coach Kerr can use that knowledge and Walton’s relatively young age to develop the Kerr brand of basketball. Walton will have the responsibility to install some of the principles of the triangle offense by the start of the season.
Coach Kerr should use Walton as a hands-on instructor and really help players understand the system. Walton will get a chance to get into the mix against the players, especially Andre Iguodala, who he played with in college during the 2002-03 season.
Walton brings a lot to the table with his knowledge base, but the biggest concern is how that translates to the floor. Can Walton be an effective assistant coach with his little experience?
Walton will have a lot to prove, but the hard work could have a significantly positive result.
Jarron Collins is another young assistant who has ties to Coach Kerr from his playing days. He will be an assistant coach of player development.
Collins had the role of scout last season for the rival Los Angeles Clippers after finishing his 10-year NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011. Collins played one of his years in Phoenix, under the watchful eye of then-general manager Kerr.
Since Collins is another younger coach, I see Coach Kerr getting him involved on the floor with the players to maximize their skill sets. Collins will also be able to pick up tips from the more experienced player development coach, Bruce Fraser.
Collins will be given a blank slate, but he will use his Stanford smarts and basketball IQ to contribute and build his resume. His role should become bigger as the season rolls on.
Bruce Fraser has been hired as assistant coach of player development and has a long history with Coach Kerr. Fraser played alongside Kerr at the University of Arizona in the mid-1980s.
Fraser brings a long line of experience to the staff, as he served as a college assistant to both Lute Olson and Larry Brown. He has time on the books with new Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder when he coached at Missouri.
Fraser and Kerr have been close since their college days and mostly stay on the same page. Fraser worked as a scout under Kerr during his time with the Suns.
Fraser will have to be more hands-on with his position as he moves to the developmental stage. He will just have to make sure that he is as fast-paced as Coach Kerr is in developing the players to play the open style of basketball.
Coach Kerr and the Warriors pushed hard to lure Alvin Gentry away from the division-rival Los Angeles Clippers by making him the highest-paid assistant in the NBA. Gentry accepted the position as associate head coach.
Gentry is a former coach of the Phoenix Suns when Kerr was their general manager. Most recently, he was Doc Rivers' top assistant with the Clippers.
Gentry is a heavyweight, as he brings 30-plus years of professional and collegiate experience to the table. He also sports a 335-370 record as a head coach during his time with the Suns, Clippers, Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons.
Bottom line, he is someone that is reliable, has the necessary experience and has a proven track record with Coach Kerr. His former head coaches include Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown and Doc Rivers.
Gentry will mostly head the offense, as he will look to spread the floor and create mismatches.
During his time with Phoenix and as an assistant with the Clippers, his offenses routinely finished as top-scoring offenses in the NBA.
Expect more of the same with the Warriors.
Steve Kerr is the head coach of the Golden State Warriors after the Dubs brass decided to move in a different direction from former coach Mark Jackson. However, Coach Kerr is in the exact same boat as Jackson by starting his career with no head coaching experience.
Kerr is an extremely bright person with a very high basketball IQ. He has also played for and won NBA titles with two of the greatest all-time coaches, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich.
He also has the experience of seeing a basketball operation run as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2007-2010.
Kerr got a taste of being an NBA head coach by coaching the Las Vegas Summer League team to a 2-3 record, but he only had two returning roster players on his squad, Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic.
The biggest hurdle that Kerr will face will be the successful implementation of his open-style offense (with triangle pieces included) without losing too much on the defensive end.
The talent on the roster is there to repeat a 50-plus-win season, but Kerr will have to grow as a coach, learn from his mistakes on the fly and solve problems he has never encountered.
I expect Coach Kerr to be more productive than his predecessor, because he won't limit the offense to the same standard plays like an overused isolation. He has a fresher and more open offense that should really maximize opportunities, especially if it is executed correctly.
The young team has another year of experience under its belt, and it should continue to grow. Barring significant injuries, this team will be a true challenger come playoff time.
The Coaching Staff as a Group
Based on the initial screenings and breakdown of each coach’s potential role with the team, Coach Kerr has assembled a rock-solid coaching staff.
The experience is there for Kerr to lean on and learn from early in the season, and the knowledge base will help him solve problems on a nightly basis. The only drawback is that he has a couple of ex-players that are limited in experience.
Kerr will install an open offense that runs parts of the triangle strategy. The challenge with installing a new offense is making sure that each player understands his role and knows how to execute it.
The initial focus will be primarily on backcourt. Can Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson be more effective in this offense?
Coach Kerr will make sure the playmakers get their fill of shots and opportunities to make plays.
In the frontcourt, Kerr will use center Andrew Bogut more in a facilitating role, similar to how the Bulls used Luc Longley in their championship run. Both Bogut and David Lee are good passers, so he should have a distinct advantage.
As seen from recent years, 50 wins isn’t the same benchmark that it used to be. This Dubs team is hungry and has another year under its belt playing with each other.
Kerr shouldn’t expect to take this team to the NBA Finals in his initial season, but he needs to make sure the Warriors can at least make it to the second round of the playoffs.
Coach Kerr has a tall task, but Joe Lacob and company aren’t paying him to be average.