Warriors

Steve Kerr wants changes to technical foul suspensions in NBA playoffs

Steve Kerr wants changes to technical foul suspensions in NBA playoffs

OAKLAND - Heading into the second round of the NBA playoffs, the Warriors still have a myriad of obstacles entering the hyped Western Conference semifinals matchup with the Houston Rockets. 

Chief among them is the team's relationship with the referees. Through six postseason games, the Warriors have accumulated six technical fouls as a team. Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have combined for five. 

Adding to Golden State's conundrum, seven individual technicals trigger an automatic suspension for a player -- no matter how far his team advances in the playoffs. With that in mind, Warriors coach Steve Kerr hopes the bylaw changes in the near future. 

"I'll never understand the rule," Kerr said Saturday afternoon at the team's practice facility. "Whether you go lose in four games in the first round or you play 25 games and you go to the Finals, it's the same technical foul points that lead to a suspension. Seems strange." 

The Warriors have had their share of troubles with officials this season. They accumulated 77 technical fouls in the 82-game regular season, plus four player ejections and five flagrant fouls. Green and Durant finished the season tied for second in the league with 16 technical fouls. 

While the NBA reset technical totals at the start of the postseason, it didn't stop Green and Durant from getting reprimanded. Durant tallied three technical fouls - with one getting rescinded -  through the first two games of the playoffs, including an ejection after standing over Clippers guard Patrick Beverley in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. 

In Friday's 129-110 series-clinching win over the Clippers in Game 6, Green received his second technical of the postseason after arguing a foul call with referee David Guthrie late in the fourth quarter, much to Kerr's chagrin. 

"I thought it was way too quick," Kerr said. "I swear he said 'tell me what I have to do better. I think he was called for a foul, I think he had good verticality. It's a questionable call but that happens all the time. He ran over to him, he said 'tell me what I have to do to defend that better' and he got a 'T.' So I was surprised and we'll see what happens. But we have to understand that we have to be on alert."

While Green and Durant have been among the league leaders in technical fouls in recent seasons, both have shown restraint when faced with an automatic suspension. With another deep playoff run expected, Kerr believes both players won't put the Warriors' season in jeopardy by earning suspensions. 

"I do know that Kevin and Draymond have a good feel for when they reach that number and they generally are able to shut that emotion off when they need to."  

[RELATED: Kerr says Steph, Klay questionable vs. Rockets in Game 1]

As for the current rule in place, Kerr says he's talked to league commissioner Adam Silver and league officials about possibly adjusting the technical rule for teams that advance and hopes that one day the current structure will change. 

"There's a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and I'm confident that they consider everything but you're not going to get a lot of sympathy," he said. 

"The way it is now doesn't make a ton of sense," Kerr added. "I'd like to see it revisited but that's coming from a guy that gets a lot of technical fouls and plays deep in the playoffs so I'm a little biased." 

Was Don Nelson convinced not to sign Steve Kerr to Warriors in 1993?

Was Don Nelson convinced not to sign Steve Kerr to Warriors in 1993?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr nearly played for Golden State in the 1993-94 season?

Avery Johnson was a guest on KNBR 680 last Thursday and told the following story:

"Pop (Gregg Popovich) was on the plane with Nellie (Don Nelson) during the preseason and Tim Hardaway got injured and blew out his knee. Pop called me and said, 'Look, if I can convince Don Nelson on this flight to sign you instead of Steve Kerr, you're gonna have a job.' I was out of a job.

"And fortunately, I got a call at six o'clock in the morning and Pop -- who was an assistant on that staff -- said, 'Pack your bags, you're coming to Golden State.'"

Hardaway -- who averaged 21.5 points and 10.6 assists in 1992-93 -- sustained a season-ending knee injury during practice on Oct. 18, 1993, and Johnson (who ended up starting 70 games that year) signed with the Warriors a week later.

Kerr, meanwhile, signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls on Sept. 29, according to BasketballReference.com. So unless the Warriors were going to trade for Kerr, something isn't adding up here. Or perhaps Nelson and Popovich didn't know Kerr already was on a team?

When KNBR host Tom Tolbert relayed Johnson's story to Kerr last Friday, the eight-time NBA champion was as surprised as anybody to learn Nelson wanted to sign him.

"I didn't know that," Kerr said. "I've never heard the Avery story."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

And then the following exchange took place:

Tolbert: "Think about that. You go there and Avery doesn't go there ... it's so funny how things work out. You make a choice, or maybe there's a choice that's made for you that you don't even know about that affects what happens to you and who you become and how things work out.

"And I was thinking, 'Who knows how it would have worked out. Maybe the Warriors win championships, maybe Steve never plays for the Bulls. Who knows how things work out. But ...'

Kerr: "Wait, wait, wait. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Did you just say if I had gone to the Warriors as a player -- maybe they would have won championships?"

Tolbert: "I did. Maybe things work out differently. They had a pretty good team there. Look, I'm not saying you would have been the guy to win the championship. Let's not get crazy here."

Kerr: "OK (laughter). Let's not get stupid (laughter)."

Tolbert: "But remember -- they had a really, really good team back then. Who knows. Maybe you go there, maybe you take (Chris) Webber out one night -- Nellie doesn't yell at him -- maybe Webber stays there."

The Warriors were really good, as they won 50 games and reached the 1994 playoffs as the No. 6 seed.

Latrell Sprewell -- in just his second season in the league -- was named All-NBA First-Team and All-Defensive Second-Team.

[RELATED: How Stockton ruined Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga]

Chris Webber averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals and was named NBA Rookie of the Year. But he and Nelson couldn't co-exist, and Webber was traded to the Washington Bullets in November 1994.

The Warriors didn't reach the postseason again until 2007.

Kerr, on the other hand, won three titles with the Bulls (1996, 1997, 1998) and two more with the San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003).

Crazy stuff.

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How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

Warriors coach Steve Kerr played his college ball at the University of Arizona.

Why didn't the eight-time NBA champion go to Gonzaga instead?

Well, there's a hilarious story that provides the answer. Kerr recently was a guest on the "Scorebook Live Today" podcast with former Gonzaga guard Dan Dickau, and shared the details.

"So they were recruiting me my senior year. And I didn’t have any offers in the middle of my senior year, but I was getting some interest," Kerr explained. "Gonzaga sent me a letter, made a couple calls and they said, ‘Hey, we want you to come on a visit when the season’s over.’ And I said, 'Great.' I was excited. It was my first visit anywhere.

"They said, ‘Just bring your stuff -- you can play when you’re up here.’ I said, 'Perfect.' And I go up and see the campus, see the locker room, meet the coaches -- all that stuff. And they said, ‘Hey, our guys are going to play pickup. You should go join them.’ I said, 'Perfect.'

"Put my shoes on. I joined the pickup game. And I’m being guarded by a guy named John Stockton (laughter). He had just finished his senior season. He was getting ready for the draft. I’m a senior in high school. And I knew who he was because I was a basketball fan, and growing up on the West Coast I had heard of him. But it was a different time back then. You didn’t have all the games on TV and everything. So, I didn’t know that much about him.

"John proceeded to wipe the floor with me. He stole the ball from me, he scored on me at will. It was a total embarrassment. They basically took me into the office and they said, 'You know, we’re, we’re going to go in a different direction (laughter).’ So I always blamed John Stockton for ruining my future at Gonzaga."

Now that's some funny stuff.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Fortunately for Kerr, it all worked out in the end. He had a fantastic career at Arizona as he helped lead the Wildcats to the 1988 Final Four.

And needless to say -- it must have been pretty sweet for Kerr to make the game-winning/series-clinching shot against Stockton and the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Kerr credits Westbrook for one of his favorite quotes ever]

Before we go, we have to address one detail. Kerr's visit to Spokane must have been in the spring of 1983 because he graduated high school soon thereafter. This means that Stockton wasn't yet preparing for the NBA draft because he was the No. 16 overall pick in 1984.

Oh well. No big deal. The story still stands.

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