Last year the Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and head coach Mark Jackson was fired shortly thereafter. Steve Kerr was hired to take over as rookie coach and now has the Warriors on the brink of an NBA championship.
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While everyone on the ABC and ESPN broadcasts has been extremely careful about dancing around the obvious, it’s clear the sensitive and defensive Jackson doesn’t have the coaching makeup of Steve Kerr.
Whereas Jackson is stubborn and close-minded, Kerr is flexible and open to anything that can make the team better. Whereas Jackson is big on rah-rah speeches and cliches, Kerr subtly empowers his team to believe in themselves. Whereas Jackson tried to ride star talent to wins, Kerr incorporates his best players’ strengths into an actual offensive scheme.
Steve Kerr is superior in so many basketball aspects but the biggest advantage he has over Jackson is personality: People like him a lot more.
So while making the Finals as a rookie coach is an amazing feat, no one is especially shocked that Steve Kerr was able to take an already talented playoff team to the edge of a championship.
Throughout it all, Steve Kerr has been quick to defuse any praise and downplay his role as the Warriors leader. In part, Steve’s being honest because he did inherit a strong team. But at the same time, rookie coaches don’t just calmly guide their teams through the Western Conference bracket and into the NBA Finals; Kerr does have a remarkable knack for coaching.