Can Steve Kerr live up to the "extraordinary" pressure now mounting on the Warriors to succeed in the bloodthirsty Western Conference?
(There may be help on the way in the form of Kevin Love, but that may be difficult to make happen. Nate wrote yesterday about some of the barriers facing Golden State in trading for Love.)
Kerr has won five titles, famously stood up to Michael Jordan in a Bulls practice, hit a championship-clinching shot in 1997, and, as General Manager, helped the Phoenix Suns stave off Father Time by constructing a team that surprisingly made the Western Conference Finals in 2010.
But there's nothing known about his ability to coach. As everyone knows, this is another former player/broadcaster getting his first licks in the coaching department for the Warriors. Steve Kerr is completely green as a head coach, and was given a five-year deal (salary undisclosed, though widely reported from $22-25 million) to learn on the job and take the Warriors farther than Mark Jackson had the opportunity to. He will be up against tremendous pressure from owner Joe Lacob and General Manager Bob Myers to progress on last season's 51-win total, something that famously wasn't able to keep Jackson around.
A statement from Bob Myers: "We're very pleased to introduce Steve Kerr as our new head coach. We are confident that he will be an extremely good fit for our team and our organization as we venture (not ironically, I assume) into the future. The fact that he played for several of the greatest coaches in the history of the game - including Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich - will serve him well, as will the many nuances that he learned from performing on the brightest stage during his incredibly successful, championship-filled career."
And a statement from Kerr: "I'm really excited about the unique opportunity to coach a very talented team and work for this committed management group. In my estimation the Warriors, from top to bottom, have become one of the marquee organizations in the NBA in recent years. I'm looking forward to becoming part of that environment and building upon the success of the last two seasons."
The Warriors officially welcome Kerr as head coach with a presser in Oakland today at 12 PM Pacific.
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