Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

OAKLAND -- Steve Kerr walked out on the Warriors on Monday, taking his assistants with him. Told the players to coach themselves.

They did, and quite well, rolling to a 129-83 rout of the hapless Phoenix Suns.

Kerr could not have done a more effective job had he supervised the morning shootaround, wielded the greaseboard and sweated every play call.

“I thought it was great,” general manager Bob Myers said of Kerr’s one-game experiment. “That’s easy to say now that we won.”

Understand, though, Kerr didn’t physically leave the team. He and his staff were on the bench throughout the evening at Oracle Arena, but they limited their authority to deciding who and when to substitute.

During timeouts, Kerr generally chatted with his assistants away from the bench, leaving the players to themselves, as he had during pregame and at halftime.

“It’s their team,” he said. “That’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach. It’s not your team. It’s not Bob Myers’ team. It’s not (CEO) Joe Lacob’s team -- although I’m not going to tell Joe that. It’s the players’ team and they have to take ownership of it.

“As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them, but we don’t control them. They determine their own fate. And I don’t feel like we’ve focused well at all over the last month, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. And they communicated really well together and they drew up some nice plays.”

Kerr said he has no regrets, despite some blowback on social media and on the NBA TV telecast, mostly by analyst and former coach Sam Mitchell. There were those who thought this violated the unwritten rules of competition.

As in “showing up the opposition.”

Aware of that possibility, Kerr made a point of engaging Suns coach Jay Triano in a brief conversation after the game.

“I have to coach my team,” Kerr said. “I told Jay afterward, I said, ‘People may make a big deal of it but it had nothing to do with 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 few years. I wasn’t reaching them. We just figured it’s probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different.”

Despite this novel approach, there was one thing that didn’t change. The Warriors got off to another lackluster start, falling behind early and catching to take a 25-24 lead after one quarter.

Over the final three quarters, the Warriors outscored Phoenix 104-59.

Four veterans -- Andre Iguodala (who supervised the morning shootaround), David West, Stephen Curry and the inactive Draymond Green -- were responsible for most of the coaching duties, literally drawing up plays.

“It was collective effort,” Curry said. “We were just trying to stay locked in and enjoy the process of getting focused and knowing our sets, being thoughtful about what lineups are out there, what we’re trying to accomplish and execute.”

It was Curry who made the most glaring coaching gaffe of the evening, taking too long to draw up a play to open the third quarter, resulting a delay of game warning.

“I was horrible, actually,” he said. “I thought about a play and then forgot the second option and had two guys in the wrong place on the board.”

The one-game deviation, against a heavy underdog, accomplished its goal. The Warriors’ scoring output was their best since Dec. 30. They posted a season-high 16 blocks while holding the Suns to 34.7 percent shooting, the stingiest since restricting the Cavaliers to 31.8 percent in the Christmas Day.

“The players responded really well,” Kerr said. “When we’re focused, we are really tough to beat. And tonight we were focused, just having to count on each other and not hearing my voice.

“I would grade (the players) with an A in terms of their focus,” Kerr said. “And that was the whole point.”

Belinelli, Johnson show players don't ring-chase as much as we think


Belinelli, Johnson show players don't ring-chase as much as we think

The Golden State Warriors have had a bit of a week so far, and it’s only Monday.

They lost chief marketer Chip Bowers to the Miami Marlins, so he can experience the magic of running the team’s revenue generation efforts – and if you know the Marlins, you know that revenue is a perpetual issue.

But marketing wizards come and go. What is more compelling is the way that the two leading buyout contract candidates they allegedly sought, Joe Johnson and Marco Belinelli, opted to play elsewhere – Johnson in Houston and Belinelli with Philadelphia.

Which leads to one question, and one alone. Are ring-chasers a rarer commodity than we think?

Clearly Johnson and Belinelli, the latter a former Warrior in the Don Nelson’s barbed tongue era, found the idea of a likely ring eminently resistable. Johnson may think the Rockets are primed to beat Golden State in a series, but the buyout from Sacramento and the $776,000 he will get as a 10-year veteran has been adjudged to be worth punching uphill in May, and the same is true of Belinelli, who goes to the last playoff team in the East and, assuming that remains the same, an opening-round series with either Toronto or Boston.

Players in Johnson’s or Belinelli’s positions (and for that matter, Brandan Wright, who also will sign with Houston), though, don’t ring-chase as much as we think they do. They seek out playing time and a chance to matter, either for a future contract or just because the team they agreed to play for showed the most desire to have them.

In other words, even a team with as presumably clear a road to Paradeville as Golden State doesn’t have everything for everybody. They could still chase other buyout class members, like Tony Allen as a perhaps, but let’s consider the words of Houston general brainbox Daryl Morey before we realize that the Warriors either don’t need the market or don’t need it enough.

“For teams who are already loaded, it's very hard to improve the rotations,” Morey said. “Most teams were in future mode. Those are the deals that happened.”

Besides, you secretly believe in Omri Casspi and Nick Young even now, and you always will.


Gameday: Conditions exist for Warriors to score 150 points vs Suns


Gameday: Conditions exist for Warriors to score 150 points vs Suns

OAKLAND -- The Warriors will be without Draymond Green when they conclude their pre-All-Star break home schedule Monday night against the struggling Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena.

In a 122-105 win over San Antonio on Saturday, the Warriors (43-13) showed signs of emerging from a stretch of desultory performances. With two games remaining before the break, the goal is to take a four-game victory into the break.

The Suns (18-39) have lost five in a row and 10 of their last 11. They are on pace to post four straight losing seasons for the first time in 30 years. They’ve missed the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, the longest such streak in the history of the 49-year-old franchise.


Warriors by 15.5


Andre Iguodala & Co. vs. T.J. Warren: Though he toils in the shadow of guard Devin Booker, Warren is himself a threat. He’s averaging 19.7 points per game and shooting 50.5 percent from the field. With Green out, Iguodala is the likely replacement in the starting lineup. Even if coach Steve Kerr decides otherwise, the Warriors will give Warren different defensive looks.


Warriors: G Pat McCaw (L thumb sprain) is listed as questionable. F Draymond Green (L index finger sprain) and F/C Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) are listed as out.

Suns: C Tyson Chandler (neck spasms) is listed as probable. G Tyler Ulis (low back discomfort) is listed as questionable. G Devin Booker (L hip pointer), G Brandon Knight (L ACL surgery) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus repair) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Suns: 1-9.


David Guthrie (crew chief), Mark Ayotte, CJ Washington


This is the first of four meetings this season between the teams. The Warriors won all four meetings last season, by an average of 14.2 points. They are 11-1 against Phoenix since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014-15.


KLAY CLOSES IN ON JBC: Klay Thompson has 9,962 points and needs 5 more to pass Joe Barry Carroll and move into 10th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Thompson is 38 points away from 10,000 career points.

THE SPRINTS: The Warriors play at the second-fastest pace in the NBA, just ahead of the No. 3 Suns. The uptempo pace factors into the fact that both teams average more than 15 turnovers per game. The Warriors, however, are vastly more explosive.

THE 150 POSSIBILITY: Several members of the Warriors believe they can, under the right conditions, score 150 points. Such conditions exist on Monday. The All-Star beckons, the Suns are the worst defensive team in the league, the pace allows for a high amount of possessions and the Warriors’ scorers are healthy.