When Steve Kerr took over the Golden State Warriors after head coach Mark Jackson had spent three years turning around the franchise, coach Kerr was hailed as a great chemistry guy a la Phil Jackson, replete with Xs and Os. Kerr proceeded to become the first rookie head coach to win an NBA championship since Pat Riley in 1982, only adding to his stature as a winner. Kerr, who won three championships as a player for the aforementioned Phil Jackson (and another two with San Antonio), had winner’s pedigree right down the line.
But chemistry is complicated. And so is coaching in today’s NBA environment, where a team can have six or seven coaches working under the head man. Assistant coach Alvin Gentry was given a lot of credit for the Warriors superb execution last year — enough to land him the head job at New Orleans. The injured Steve Kerr hasn’t coached a single game this year, even though every Warriors win officially goes on his record. Instead, another guy with a winning pedigree, Luke Walton, has coached the Warriors to the best start (16-0) in NBA history while Kerr rehabs his back. No doubt Kerr has input, but Walton is on the bench. Can anybody coach these Warriors to victory? You have to believe Mark Jackson thinks so. Buy bygones being what they are, Jackson says nothing.