Sports Out West

Steve Kerr impresses at NBA Summer League, despite record

kerr

The Summer League typically brings minimal pressure to those involved in it. Because the results of the proceedings bear no significance on the upcoming season, the Summer League is used as more of an opportunity to evaluate prospective players and give rookies a taste – though diluted – of professional basketball.

For Steve Kerr, who was hired as head coach of the Golden State Warriors this offseason, the Summer League gave him the chance to gain some coaching experience under his belt. Unfortunately, Kerr was unable to keep the Warriors’ winning streak alive and help them repeat as champions. But, he exhibited many positive qualities as a coach, which will factor into the team’s future success much more significantly than the pride of a winning streak in the middle of July.

Kerr’s Summer League performance (a 2-2 record so far), when considering the roster he was dealt, is actually quite impressive. Unlike most other coaches, Kerr didn’t have the luxury of working with a first round pick from this year’s loaded draft. The only two pros featured on the Warriors’ Summer League roster were Nemanja Nedovic, the 30th pick in the much weaker 2013 draft, and Ognjen Kuzmic, a struggling big man who spent prolonged stretches in the D-League in his rookie season last year. Aaron Craft and Justin Holiday were the lone bright spots for this Summer League team, but even their chances at landing a spot on a roster seem slim.

Kerr also displayed sharp offensive acumen, managing to implement noticeable ball rotation in an atmosphere where players feel the need to play hero-ball to prove themselves and earn a spot on a roster. But his real brilliance came in late game situations. Coming out of a timeout, with the clock winding down, he orchestrated a number of intelligent inbound plays that often found an open Holiday on the perimeter. 

Last season, Mark Jackson often times relied on Stephen Curry‘s sweet stroke and floor vision to create opportunities for the team in the waning moments of the game. With Kerr on board, the players will finally have the luxury of strategic plays being drawn up for them.

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

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Kapil Kashyap

Kapil Kashyap is a Bay Area native and an expert on all things NBA. For more insight, be sure to follow him on Twitter.