Warriors

Mike Brown has one job to do as acting head coach of the Warriors

Mike Brown has one job to do as acting head coach of the Warriors

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 4 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND — Though this undoubtedly is a crisis for Steve Kerr, whose body is putting up such angry protest that he is pulling out of playoff games, it’s no emergency for the Warriors.

No matter what you think of Mike Brown as a basketball coach, and opinions do vary, his ascension to acting head coach in Kerr’s absence does not sink the championship aspirations of the team.

What it does, more than anything, is create leadership opportunities for such accomplished veterans as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

[POOLE: This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body]

What it also does is provide a deeper glimpse into one of the most democratic coaching operations in sports.

“The way things work here, it’s pretty unusual,” Brown told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “Everybody is involved. Everybody -- coaches, players, staff, anybody with an idea -- has a voice. Steve has created an environment where everyone is comfortable speaking up about anything.”

Not only is everyone comfortable, but Kerr also encourages participation in the process. Whether it’s a veteran coach like Ron Adams, a staffer like Nick U’Ren, an analyst like Sammy Gelfand or a video intern like Khalid Robinson, the floor is always open to ideas and comments.

No one is ignored, and that’s not the case with every coach in any sport.

The Warriors understand they operate in a special space, which is part of the reason they’ve spent three years thriving at such an incredible pace. And that doesn’t change because Brown is the guy standing up to call timeouts.

Consider a scene from Game 3 Saturday night. With the Warriors down eight in the final minute of the first quarter, Green picked up his second foul. That typically calls for a substation. And Brown was ready to insert Klay Thompson, but then caught sight of Green saying he would be fine.

Thompson returned to his seat, Green finished the quarter -- and was on the court again to open the second quarter.

“That just goes to show the trust that our coaching staff has in us,” Green said. “There are so many times you see guys wave a coach off . . . and they’ll still take them out. But that’s the trust our coaching staff has in us. And I know if I wave to stay in, I can’t pick up that third foul. It’s a two-way street. They have the trust in us to allow us to stay in in a situation like that, and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t mess them over and pick up that third foul, and then we’re out for the rest of the half.

“So I think it was great by him and the rest of the coaching staff to have that trust. It’s on us to hold up our end of the bargain and not get that third foul.”

[RELATED: Zaza 'got a little bit emotional' when Kerr told Warriors about chronic pain]

Green, by the way, didn’t pick up his third foul until the fourth quarter. That was long after he played such ridiculously good third-quarter defense -- 0 points while posting a plus-12 over 12 minutes -- that the Warriors wiped out a double-digit deficit.

Brown has learned to trust the player, just as Kerr trusts his players. It’s standard operation for this bunch, and Brown, a three-time NBA head coach, has seen enough not to deviate.

“The group, as a whole, understands what he wants,” Brown said of Kerr. “It makes it easy for a guy like me to just be a part.”

This is Kerr’s team, and Brown knows it. Brown wasn’t hired to coach the Warriors, and nobody understands this better than he. He wasn’t asked to come in and lay groundwork, to put his stamp on the roster or the playbook or video presentation or determine franchise direction.

His job, for as long as he is acting head coach, is to maintain status quo. And, maybe, if circumstances call for it, consider a wrinkle every now and then, as he would if he were standing next to Kerr.

Keep in mind that Kerr, who attended morning shootaround ahead of Game 4 Monday night, is not walking away. Though he does not plan to be on the bench for a while, he’ll continue to prepare and get into the ears of players and staff.

So this is not a crisis for the Warriors. Though they’d like to get Kerr back as soon as possible, they also believe the system he has built has tremendous self-sustaining qualities.

Brown has been around the game, seen enough organizations, to know this is about as good as it gets.

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller