It will presumably be baptism by fire for rookie head coach Steve Kerr next season, as he looks to lead a team coming off of 51 wins and an ultra-competitive seven-game series against the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. Although Kerr’s strong relationship with Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob and team GM Bob Myers has been highly publicized, it’s interesting to note that not many of the players have publicly commented much on Kerr’s hiring, reportedly out of support for Mark Jackson. Thus, in addition to the challenge of winning the players over, Kerr understands that the team’s expectations will be high.
“I know I have big shoes to fill…Mark was very successful there and has done a great job with the players. They all appreciated him…But I look at that as a positive because I’m inheriting a good team. I’d rather inherit a good team with expectations than a bad team with a low bar. It’s not even close. So I’m aware there are going to be expectations. That comes with the territory. I would challenge anybody to find a job in the NBA that isn’t rife with challenges. They’re all just a little different,” Kerr recently told Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area.
When Jackson was hired by Golden State in 2011, he boldly predicted that the team would make the playoffs in his first year. Soon after the 2011/12 season began, he predicted that then-rookie Klay Thompson would win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. Kerr refrained from making his own bold predictions, choosing instead to focus on continuing the franchise’s improvement over the last two seasons.
“My view is not ‘we have to win 52 games next year’ or we have to get to the second round…My view is ‘What are we going to do the next decade?’ ‘What are we going to do the next five years?’ My goal is to continue this upward trend the organization is on.”
Though Kerr wouldn’t admit a specific goal for next season, it’s still an interesting topic worth discussing. With that in mind, what will signify that upward trend in his first season as a rookie head coach in Golden State?