Steve Kerr had perhaps the longest honeymoon in NBA coaching history, winning The Finals in Year 1 and making a home there for five consecutive years. So good were the Warriors the occasional smattering of dissent was irrational.
Kerr caught a break last season because injuries and departures left the roster emaciated. That team was built to do a lot of losing while learning.
Now, though, the honeymoon is over and there are no breaks. The Warriors are 10-9, a record generally reflecting their exasperating inconsistency and has an expanding faction of Dub Nation grumbling into their masks.
Fully aware of the noise, Kerr came to his defense 90 minutes before tipoff against the Pistons on Saturday night.
“All that stuff doesn't matter,” he said. “The only thing that matters is I know our team better than anybody on earth and I know what we need to do to win. That's why I’m the coach. That's why was hired in the first place.”
There is no question CEO Joe Lacob is dissatisfied with the first five weeks of the season, but there also is no indication he is displeased with Kerr, who has nine assistants. With one year remaining on his original five-year contract, Kerr in July 2018 signed what he told NBC Sports Bay Area was “multi-year extension.”
Kerr did not specify length then and has not since. The agreement is believed to run through 2021-22.
This season is crucial insofar as the roster is considerably stronger than it was last season and, therefore considered capable of reaching the playoffs and having success at that level.
There is thus far no indication of this despite Stephen Curry being healthy on productive, Draymond Green making an impact after missing a few early games and Andrew Wiggins playing well enough to change perceptions.
While Kerr has made it clear he is focused mostly on building a better defense, most of the moaning is related to offense and playing rotations. With three new starters, one of which is rookie center James Wiseman, it’s expected that the Warriors will have ugly moments.
They are, and Kerr has borne the brunt of it.
“This is the job,” he said. “I'm well aware of that by now.
“But it goes both ways, and you always have to remind yourself of that. If you win 10 in a row, you're the greatest team ever, or you’re John Wooden as a coach. You lose a few in a row and you're going to get fired.”
Don’t count on that happening any time soon.