From Steve Kerr to Luke Walton to – yes, even Mark Jackson – several people deserve credit for the Golden State Warriors’ 23-0 start.
After all, Jackson laid the foundation in Golden State, transforming the Warriors from a moribund franchise to legitimate playoff contender. Then along came Kerr, who last season led the Warriors to their first NBA title in 40 years. And then, of course, there’s Walton, who has led the Warriors to a 23-0 start while Kerr recovers from back surgery.
So, which coach deserves most of the credit here?
“You know what?” NBA TV analyst Danny Granger said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “First of all, I love Luke. (He’s) a good friend of mine. I love what he’s done. I love what Steve Kerr has done. Mark Jackson did a great job as well.”
All of that was said in a wait-for-the-but tone.
“I really have the firm belief that the coach is probably the least important part of what Golden State is doing,” Granger said. “I say that from a player’s perspective because a lot of times, a coach can give you the principles and they’ll put you in the right places, but the players collectively have to come to a common goal as to what they’re doing on the court, the things they do off the court, the locker-room environment, what they’re doing on the plane. I think the Golden State Warriors have developed that, and I kind of compare it to a perfect storm: They have such a unique system.”
Take Draymond Green, for example. The Michigan State product can guard all five positions and is averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.
“He arguably could be the MVP of that team,” Granger said. “Obviously we know about Steph, but put Draymond Green on any other team, and he becomes just another player. I firmly believe that. But on that team, you got people coming out saying he’s a top player in the NBA. I really think it’s just the perfect storm. It really doesn’t matter who’s coaching them. I think you just kind of give them plays and get out of their way.”
Green is one of four Warriors averaging double figures, along with Steph Curry (32.2 points per game), Klay Thompson (18.2) and Harrison Barnes (13.4).
Golden State leads the league in scoring (115.8 points per game) and three-point shooting (43.8 percent). In fact, the Warriors are the only team in the league averaging at least 110 points per game, and only one other team, Oklahoma City (108.5), is averaging more than 106.
“There’s no way I think a team should be 23-0 with the talent that we have in the NBA,” said Granger, a former NBA All-Star who averaged 25.8 points per game in 2008-09. “But like you said, everything is working out for them. It’s a perfect storm for them right now.”