Hey coach, how about that Kevin Love trade? Warriors really dodged a bullet there, huh?
Actually, Steve Kerr wasn’t in much of a mood to discuss the news of the day yesterday morning, after hanging out with Warriors basketball campers and taking about 100 photos.
“I don’t really have a reaction. It doesn’t include our team. When other teams make moves that’s really their business, so no comment,” said Kerr, who — surprise, surprise — likes the roster he’ll coach next season and perhaps four more after that.
“There’s no question that we feel very confident and comfortable with the group that we have. The team’s been on the rise the last couple years and I believe in continuity and players growing together. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.
The continuity part makes sense, coming from Kerr. He won three rings with the Bulls and two with the Spurs, two franchises known for forming a core and adjusting slightly each year rather than swapping out key guys every few seasons.
If the Warriors think last year’s 51-win team could’ve performed significantly better, Kerr’s job is to maximize the talent they have. Many have fixated on the expected implementation of the triangle offense, but I would imagine Kerr will bring some “triangle concepts” without necessarily becoming a triangle team. After all, Andrew Bogut is not Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Curry isn’t Michael Jordan, and Andre Iguodala isn’t Scottie Pippen.
Kerr said when he was hired that his goal is to get the Warriors running, something I called for throughout Mark Jackson’s tenure. It seemed like they were kind of interested in pushing the pace at the beginning of last year — there was a lot of talk about Bogut and David Lee leading fast breaks and such — but that went away after the first month or so.
So I asked Kerr why he thinks this team would benefit from running more, and what goes into getting players to push the pace consistently.
“We have guys who can get out and run. We’ve got really a strong wing contingent with guys like Andre and Harrison and Draymond and Klay. When you can get the ball ahead, to guys who are running and putting pressure on the defense, I think it sets the tone for the entire possession. Whether you get a layup or not, you’re putting pressure on the defense and you’re creating some pace and flow. That’s something we’re going to try to accomplish, and you work on it right from the beginning. It’s a mentality more than anything,” said Kerr.
What about conditioning?
“Within a couple of weeks after training camp (starts), everybody in the league is in great shape. In most cases guys are in great shape coming into camp these days. It’s much more about the mentality and the way that you’re attacking than the condition you’re in.”
Perhaps it had something to do with his hamstring and knee troubles throughout the season, but it looked like Jackson was happy to let Iguodala work his magic as an off-ball defender and bring the ball up every once in a while. Despite Iguodala’s vocal support of Jackson, in my view he was one of the most underutilized players on the team on the offensive end.
“Andre is one of the fastest players at his position in the league. He likes to play fast, but so do other guys,” Kerr said.
“I think, again, it’s about pushing the ball regardless of the situation, putting pressure on the defense. That’s good for everybody. Defenses are so sophisticated these days. And they’re sitting back and just waiting to run their schemes and overload and do everything they do to make it difficult in the halfcourt. It’s important to push the ball and put pressure on and kind of develop a tempo to the game.”
Other notes from Kerr’s interview
— On Marreese Speights, who was recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence:
“I’ve spoken with Mo. He called me immediately afterwards and I know the team issued a statement and I’ll just leave it at that.”
— On the addition of Aaron Craft, who the Warriors signed to a partially guaranteed contract this week:
“We love Aaron’s competitiveness and his defense and his energy and his intelligence. He sort of embodies what we want to be and what we’re becoming as a franchise. Whether he’s good enough or not, we’ll see. But we like the idea of bringing him to camp and possibly sending him to Santa Cruz to work on his game. But he impressed us in Summer League, and he earned a spot in camp for sure.”
— On Nemanja Nedovic’s latest injury (stress fracture):
“Nothing has been determined yet, whether surgery will happen. It’s being discussed. Fortunately it doesn’t appear to be a long-term recovery. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I think there’s a chance he could be ready for camp. If not, then shortly thereafter.”
— Kerr said he has met face-to-face with every player on the roster this summer.