Warriors

Warriors' Steve Kerr thoughtfully responds to Donald Trump's remarks

Warriors' Steve Kerr thoughtfully responds to Donald Trump's remarks

SAN FRANCISCO – One day after being blasted with ridicule from the tongue of President Donald Trump, Warriors coach Steve Kerr responded Thursday with what amounted to a thoughtful sermon, carefully eviscerating the president’s general conduct.

Trump on Wednesday, citing Kerr’s non-response to a question about the sudden conflict between the NBA and China, described 54-year-old coach as a “scared little boy” afraid to answer.

Kerr heard about it shortly thereafter. Pondered it. Bottled his rage. Slept on it and then calmly offered an extended reply shortly before the Warriors-Timberwolves preseason game at Chase Center.

“Last night, I was thinking about my various visits to the White House,” Kerr began. “I’ve lived a privileged life. Met, I think, the last five presidents, prior to President Trump. The first one was in 1984, and Ronald Reagan was president. He invited my mom and me, six months after my dad was killed in a terrorist attack.

"President Reagan and Vice President Bush invited us into the Oval Office, and spent about a half hour with us, thanking us for my dad’s service; he was in education. Thanking us for my dad’s commitment to trying to share American values in the Middle East. Trying to promote peace in the Middle East.

“And all I could think of last night was the contrast of what has happened in 35 years.

“There was (then) no regard for whose side you were on, politically, political party, anything like that. It was just, ‘You are an American.’ The offense held such dignity and respect both from the people who were visiting and especially from the people who sat inside. It’s just sad that it’s come crashing down, and that we’re now living this.”

Without citing specifics, Kerr was referring to such things as the parade of indicted or convicted associates of the president. To Trump’s mocking of such citizens as the late Sen. John McCain. To the Trump family’s ceaseless claims that former President Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic party, was not born in the United States.

Mostly, though, Kerr was referring to the strident political polarization that has generated such tremendous unease within country.

“I realize the horse was out of the barn a long time ago,” he said. “But for me personally, this was my experience with, wow, has the office sunken low. My hope is that we can find a mature unifier, from either party, to sit in that chair and try to restore some dignity to the Oval Office again. And I think it will happen.”

Kerr has been outspoken about his desire to see all Americans voting in every election. It’s one of several projects in which he is involved. He has been particularly consistent in his advocacy for gun safety, as his father, Malcolm, was assassinated by terrorists in January 1984.

“Generally, my feeling is the things I’m going to comment on are the things I feel very comfortable speaking about, things I feel well-versed about,” he said. “I comment a lot about gun safety. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and very crucial for our future as a country. We face mass shootings literally every day. I’m involved with four or five different gun safety groups. That’s my pet cause.

"I’m going to comment on that. That’s my right. That’s why I love being an American. That’s why I love my country.”

Asked if in previous trips to China the issue of that country’s human rights abuses has been a topic of discussion, Kerr said it has not. He then paused for a few seconds before an addendum.

“Nor has our record of human rights abuses come up, either,” he said. “Things that our country needs to look at and resolve. That hasn’t come up, either. None of us are perfect. We all have different issues we need to get to. Saying that is my right as an American. It doesn’t mean I hate my country. It means I want to address (those things).”

“People in China didn’t ask me about people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall,” Kerr added. “I wasn’t asked that question. So, we can play this game all we want, go all over the map and, there’s this issue and that issue."

The coach also had a response for those who, like Trump, criticized him for not answering the initial question, on Monday, about the conflict between the NBA and China, which was initiated by a tweet from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who expressed support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

“The same people who were asking me to stick to sports are also asking me to expand my horizons,” Kerr said. “I guess that’s what I’m hearing.”

[RELATED: Trump's Kerr remarks prove sports, politics are inseparable]

Kerr seemed to see the whimsy emanating from the White House. Trump goes on the attack and there’s always a target.

“I was the shiny object yesterday,” Kerr said. “There was another one today. There will be a new one tomorrow, and the circus will go on.”

Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr spent a few minutes before tipoff Wednesday night musing about his predicament, which has transformed him into a coach Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, to name two former Warriors, would not recognize.

A coach with no choice but to tolerate the messes made by a roster heavy on youth and thinned by a slew of injuries.

“We’ve had anywhere from eight to 10 guys available each night,” Kerr said before a 120-94 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “There are nights where I would love to take someone out based on a mistake they made. But I can’t take them out.

“We don’t have that hammer, as a coaching staff, to be able to reward guys with playing time or penalize them by taking playing time away.”

So, the mistakes keep coming, with no real consequences for those who make them.

“We’ve already improved some,” Draymond Green said after the game. “But we’ve got a long way to go. A long way to go.”

The Warriors conducted defensive drills during their morning shootaround – something they haven’t done since 2014-15 – because the coaching staff feels a need to emphasize and reemphasize points that might keep them from remaining the worst defensive team in the NBA.

“It’s crazy,” Green said of the morning session. “It’s interesting. It’s different. But you’ve got to teach. The thing about the NBA is you don’t have a ton of practices. So, you have to kind of teach on the fly. I get it.”

Being spanked by a potent Lakers team won’t help their horrid numbers and will only provide more video to study in hopes of learning. LA shot 53.9 percent from the field, including 45 percent from beyond the arc. In the first half, when the game was being decided, those numbers were 63 percent and 50 percent.

“Defensively, we never really had any traction,” Kerr said afterward. “We had some spells where we made some good things happen offensively, maybe got a stop or two. But every time it felt like we were right there, we just couldn’t get a stop.

“It’s almost impossible to win in this league when you can’t count on getting three stops in a row at some point.”

These standards, set by the great Warriors teams of recent seasons, are new and daunting for rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall, who previously would have been in sit-and-learn mode this season. In addition, the veterans new to the Warriors – Alec Burks, Willie Cauley-Stein, Glenn Robinson III and D’Angelo Russell – are having their own difficulties.

There is no choice but to live with the turnovers (Russell had five), the late defensive rotations and offensive sequences destined for segments on Shaqtin’ A Fool.

The Warriors are, in short, "Mistakes R Us."

Green and the veteran coaches who over the last five seasons prodded and pushed in pursuit of perfection can only watch and sigh. And contain the frustrations while waiting for lessons to be absorbed.

Bell and Jones are gone largely because they came into circumstances wherein there was very low tolerance for errors, particularly mental errors. They were kids among champions, new to a franchise chasing history, and simply were unable to approach the ultra-high standards set by such players as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – as well as regal veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

So, when a youngster made a mistake in a game, Kerr was quick to summon a vet. He was coaching for wins, not growth. That was for practice.

Now, the focus is on growth with the faint hope it might lead to some victories. The Warriors are 2-10, with one proven scorer, Russell, and little reason to believe they can produce a startling turnaround.

“It’s understandable that we’re taking some licks, given the state of our team right now,” Kerr said. “But we have to learn from our mistakes. We’ve got to get better from game to game, especially defensively. It has to come.

“Not seeing it right now.”

[RELATED: What we learned as Warriors losing streak hits five games]

It’s not visible. It’s not there. It should get better, simply because the labor is not being questioned.

Until then, there is nothing that can be done by Kerr or Green or any of the coaches, all of whom are accustomed to repairing strategic issues in a matter of minutes, and penalizing those who couldn’t keep up.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors' descent to the bottom of the league standings has been a sight to see through the first month of the season. 

On Wednesday, they added to the futility, losing to the Lakers 120-94, dropping their fifth straight contest. 

The loss marked Golden State's first five-game losing streak under coach Steve Kerr and snapped a three-game regular-season winning streak over Los Angeles. 

LeBron James made easy work of the Dubs' putrid defense, scoring a game-high 23 points to go with 12 assists, while former Warrior JaVale McGee finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. 

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Defensive doldrums

Warriors Insider Monte Poole did the honors of providing Golden State's woeful defensive stats, so I'll spare you the trouble. Nonetheless, the Warriors continued their season-long defensive struggle, allowing the Lakers to use this game as a cardio exercise. 

Playing against a battered squad, the Lakers pounced early, shooting 69 percent in the first quarter, including five 3-pointers. LeBron James scored 19 first-half points, adding six rebounds as the Lakers scored 64 points in the paint. 

Kerr has lamented his team's defense for most of the season, but Wednesday's performance tapped into what frustrates him the most: a total lack of effort. Under the current circumstances, the Warriors' lack of depth will assure that they'll lose most nights, but that doesn't mean they have to go down without a fight.  

Rebounds anyone?

Coinciding with Golden State's defensive woes was its inability to attack the glass, getting outrebounded 51-33 on the night. By the end of the evening, no player even cracked double digits in the category. 

Entering Wednesday, the Warriors were near the bottom of the league in rebounding, averaging just over 40 boards per game. With a frontline depth chart that included JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, Los Angeles had the size to overwhelm Golden State's small frontline. 

But rebounding is about desire and as the Warriors showed Wednesday, they had very little of it. 

[RELATED: Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't exist]

D'Angelo Russell shines 

In what has become a trend in recent weeks, D'Angelo Russell had a solid offensive night Wednesday, scoring 21 points to go with eight assists. 

Entering Wednesday, he was averaging 26.3 points and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. Offense has never been an issue for Russell, and with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out, he'll have full rein of the offense and should flourish. 

Moving forward, he'll need to put the same amount of effort on the defensive end for the Warriors to have a slight chance most nights.