OMG he could pull of Jon Gruden like nobody's business. - Jonathan Daniel
GBB will be around this summer to react to news that potentially affects the Memphis Grizzlies. One of our Western Conference competitors has made a splash by firing a successful coach and hiring a new man to steer the ship. Here's what GBB is thinking:
All right fellows, two questions regarding Steve Kerr and one bonus question also related to the coaching carousel.
1) What's your general take on the Steve Kerr hiring?
The Warriors have hired themselves a blond-haired, blue-eyed, and goshdarnit, downright friendly fella as their next head coach. Never mind the 5 years and $25 million for a guy who hasn't even coached church league; his meteoric ascension after his name was mentioned in conjunction with Phil Jackson seemed to dictate that. I doubt if the Warriors would have pursued him so heartily had Mr. 13 Rings not done so first.
The Dubs hope for the same kind of commentator-to-coach success they saw with Mark Jackson, only without the paranoia and diva behavior. There are reasons to believe Kerr can succeed despite his lack of experience. First, Kerr has front office experience, so he should be able to communicate on that level. Second, he is widely known to be a nice guy. Third, he spent nearly his entire career playing for Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich and is reputed to have been a good pupil. Lastly, he's a shooter going to coach a team of shooters, so he should be able to communicate on that level as well.
Under normal circumstances, that price tag for a guy who has never coached before would be insane. Maybe it still is, I believe this could be a very good fit for both Kerr and the team.
Time is a flat circle. The Warriors hired a rookie head coach straight from the broadcast booth three years, in Mark Jackson. Then they replace Mark Jackson with a rookie head coach straight from the broadcast booth.
Steve Kerr could be a great coach, but there is no reason to think he definitely will be. He has none of the advantages that Coach Joerger had: not only coaching the players as an assistant coach but also, you know, coaching.
This is a huge gamble for a team that is capped out, who can't trade a pick until 2017, and is just as likely to try to sell a player for cap reasons as it is to buy a player to improve.
He was paid entirely too much. $5 million for a guy who has never coached before is a bit of a stretch. Will he fit the team? Quite possibly, especially with their great back court talent. Kerr has said their offense will have aspects of the Triangle, which should help David Lee a good bit as well. The key for the Warriors moving forward is the continued development of Steph Curry into a well rounded player; he is an offensive genius, but his defense can still be suspect. If Kerr can get Curry and company to buy in to defense more consistently and better utilize bench talent, they will be dangerous.
5 years / $25 million is a lot to give a guy that has no previous coaching experience. With that said, it's not like he's completely starting from scratch. He has been a GM in the NBA before, and he's obviously been around the league for a long time. He understands how it works. Also, the price is high, but that's more a product of demand for Kerr than anything. Having multiple suitors played in Kerr's favor. Had he just been courted by one team, I think his salary would be much lower and there would be less years on that deal.
As for his fit with Golden State, I believe he'll fit there really well. He has talked about his coaching philosophy, but I refuse to comment on that until we actually see what he's going to do. It's easy to talk grand strategy until you get in and actually size up your current roster. Kerr is a personable guy, and I have a hard time thinking many/if any of the guys on that team won't like him. Of course, Golden State didn't make the best possible hire though. That ship sailed when Stan Van Gundy headed to Detroit.
2) Does this give the Grizzlies a better chance at improving their record & results in 2014-15?
I don't see this coaching change having a significant impact on Golden State's record, so I don't believe it will effect the Grizzlies' odds much in 2014-15. There will probably be an adjustment period early like there was with Joerger, but I think at the end of the season, the Warriors will be in the mix for the 6-8 seed in the West barring significant injuries.
Does this affect the Grizzlies? Only in the sense that it isn't likely to improve the Warriors, especially in the short term.
I am not sure Kerr moves the needle very much either way. The Warriors already have the talent to be explosive offensively, and the presence of Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala will make the Golden State respectable defensively. Kerr's presence will be steadying for the organization and his knowledge of the game is elite, but will he be able to motivate and get Golden State to feel the same passion for playing for him that Mark Jackson did? That adjustment may cost the Dubs some wins next season like Joerger's attempts at new offensive sets hurt the Grizzlies early this year.
This doesn't do anything for the Grizzlies record for better or worse. Kerr will have enough talent on that team to carry him while he's undergoing a baptism by fire if you will. I'm not sure him coaching the Warriors will affect the Grizzlies playoff seeding or their playoff performance.
I have a tough time seeing a fit for him. Utah maybe, but I really don't see him as a great fit anywhere. I don't meaning coaching-wise; has the coaching ability to coach anywhere and be solid. I mean as far as being a leader who understands what it means to work as part of a team. He flatly refused to do that, and he's continued to make comments suggesting that he believes that mindset is the right one.
I think Lionel's most likely route back to the head coaching ranks is to be an assistant somewhere so he can show that he can work with people again. He seems to be too proud for that though, and I can understand that mindset - he won a lot of games and had the community's respect. It would be incredibly difficult to take a step down after that. If he doesn't, though, I have a hard time seeing him back in the NBA anytime soon.
Dead serious: Lionel Hollins should be the University of Memphis coach.
I honestly am not sure. I don't think the Knicks are interested because of Phil Jackson's insistence on Triangle offense experience. He probably should just coach the team himself (said every basketball writer/blogger/fan ever.) The Lakers are likely waiting to try to make a big splash with their hire, and I doubt Lionel Hollins makes those kinds of waves.
That leaves the Jazz, Cavaliers and Timberwolves. Utah seems interested in John Stockton to start, but bringing in Lionel to that situation with a young core who could be molded could be a goof fit. Same thing for Cleveland and Minnesota; if Lionel did so well with Mike Conley, perhaps he could help Kyrie Irving, Trey Burke and Ricky Rubio get to the next level. All three teams have youth and athleticism, but development will be key. Is Hollins the best bet in those spots? Remains to be seen.
I do think if Lionel is unemployed through this ride on the coaching carousel he may be done in the NBA. Never say never of course, but anytime you are that outwardly disrespectful toward your employer you run the risk of damaging yourself beyond repair in the eyes of future bosses.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he's coaching a college team in the future. He's got a little of that Bobby Knight air about him. I just don't think Lionel has done anything to give himself a better chance at getting hired as an NBA coach in the past year. He continues to show open resentment and bitterness towards his former employer, not a good look for someone who is looking to take on a softcore PR job as an NBA head coach.
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