Bay Area

Is Steve Kerr an early lock for coach of the year?

Steve Kerr

It’s 2015 and the Golden State Warriors still hold the best record in the NBA. The Warriors’ success can’t be attributed to any one person; their biggest strength thus far has been the cohesiveness and chemistry that they’ve displayed as a team. But, credit must be given where it is due and the man at the helm needs to be acknowledged.

Thirty games into the season, Steve Kerr is one of the frontrunners for the coach of the year award. 

Here’s why:

Player Development

At the end of last season, Harrison Barnes was widely viewed as a young, athletic forward that had shown flashes of brilliance, but was largely a bust. Barnes was thrust into a role where he was responsible for creating his own shot and struggled, as a result. In the Warriors’ new offensive system under Kerr, Barnes has been revitalized. 

Kerr’s biggest shakeup was placing Barnes in the starting lineup. His belief in Barnes has visibly enhanced his confidence and has led to increased assertiveness from Barnes. In addition, with the ball movement and spacing that Kerr has brought to the team, Barnes has thrived on mid-range jumpers and quick cuts to the rim that make use of his athleticism.

As impressive as Barnes’ emergence has been, Draymond Green‘s development has to be the biggest surprise for the Warriors. He’s a legitimate triple-double threat each night, and has been praised by Kerr on numerous occasions for embodying the heart and spirit of the team. Kerr, along with his All-Star squad of assistant coaches, have been instrumental in helping Green improve as a player.

Never Satisfied

Even though his team holds the best record in the league, he still isn’t satisfied. Steve Kerr has been outspokenly critical of his team’s performance, even after dominant victories. He’s cognizant of the flaws in his team’s play, and holds his group to a very high standard.

The reason Kerr’s attitude is so valuable is because it will help prepare the Warriors for the postseason, where the level of play will elevate substantially. By refusing to let his team coast early in the regular season, the Warriors will be polished and prepared for the brutal Western Conference come playoff time.

With all this being said, there are still a few candidates for the coaching award that stand as a threat to Kerr. The unprecedented success of both the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks have placed Dwane Casey and Mike Budenholzer into the conversation, but if the Warriors can sustain the level of success they’ve had so far and finish at the top of the Western Conference standings, it’ll be hard to deny Kerr the award.

Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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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.
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