The Warriors' towering success stands as the ultimate precursor to NBA supremacy. Golden State's trending Midas model is coveted and endures to be emulated. The only downfall to this attention: opposing western conference franchises keep nabbing Steve Kerr's top assistants.
Under Kerr and Ron Adams, Bob Myers owns a young, bright, revolving, assistant coach stable similar to the Oakland A's farm system: we keep them for a little while, then they move on. But Myers can walk proud, like some Sicilian father with a clan of the prettiest daughters in town. As the suitors line up and jockey for position, Bob can cheerfully offer his blessing, because it's all the same to him -- he still has the swan of the town, the 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Steve Kerr. Even if the second chair is in perpetual evolution, the staff is built on a solid foundation. From owner, to GM, to coach, to superstar(s), the pieces combine to form a high octane vehicle set on cruise control towards trophy land.
Beyond Steve Kerr, the most dependable cornerstone of the brain trust is Old Man Adams. At 68, "The Professor" has allowed Steve to spread his wings as a young coach and grants the staff the freedom to grow, as they can count on Adams to leave no stone unturned. His versatility and stability gives any coaching group "the Draymond effect," as he can literally do it all. He can coach, he can teach, he can scout, and he can develop. This creates a great environment for assembling young teachers of the game.
"He's a big-time secret weapon." - John Lucas II
"He's one of the top five coaches in the NBA. Head, assistant, it doesn't matter." - Tom Thibodeau
"One of the things I wanted was a truth-teller. I wanted somebody who's not afraid to say, 'Boy, you screwed that up. You better do it this way.' That's Ron. Ron will tell it like it is. He's our resident guru, our wise sage." - Steve Kerr
"It doesn't matter how many points I score. He seems to find that one or two things that I can do better on the defensive end after every game. That kind of knocks you back into reality a little bit." - Stephen Curry
"Ron is my individual coach, but he's like a dad to me." - Festus Ezeli
"At a certain age, either something happens for you or it doesn't happen. I never took a job with the idea that I'm working toward something else. I was never one of those guys who looked ahead, and I was never a good self-promoter. My take on coaching, is that I always want to be involved and make a difference. Provide some glue.
You might be working for a coach who is excellent at player relations. You might be working with a person who that isn't their strength. So you, as the support person, are really trying to prop up the coach in the areas that they need help. Sometimes it's unbeknownst to them. That's your job." - Ron Adams
via Buck Harvey, San Francisco Chronicle
Despite the qualities of Adams, Luke Walton brought a unique sort of zen, comical presence to the edgy Kerr. While Steve and Ron might sour and steam over a blown assignment or turnover, it is known that Luke would often say just the thing to keep Steve grounded and focused on the next play.
That will be missed...After all, everyone has a friend like that, the mellow, monotone, king of one-liners. You listen to Luke talk, and sometimes it takes you a second to realize that this dude just said one of the funniest things you've ever heard - and with that, the Warriors lose probably the most personable coach on the team, other than Steve, himself.
Yeah, Luke went 006 Alec Trevelyan on the Warriors
After the 24-0 start, after Papa Billy told his boy to stay at the dance, 36-year-old Luke Walton will be the youngest coach in the NBA this October. In all seriousness, this is an ideal situation for Walton and the league. Kobe is gone, and so is his 25 million dollar contract. The team is young, Luke is young, and the Lakers' cap is wide open. He's got a shot to make his mark in turning things around for possibly the greatest franchise in sports history. All of the Warriors family wishes Luke the best, and fans are indebted to him forever for holding down the fort in Coach Kerr's absence, and co-scripting chapter one of the legendary 73-win season.
Now, on to the candidates...
Cal's very own, Theo Robertson finished his senior season as the school's all-time leader in 3-point percentage (45.3%) and had the ambition of becoming a sport's manager immediately after his graduation in 2010. He served as Cal's Director of Basketball Operations for one year. In 2014, the Warriors brought him in as a video intern and began showing him the ropes at the NBA level. Theo exceeded expectations, and was promoted to Video Coordinator/Player Development. Incidentally, Erik Spoelstra was hired as VC in 1995 for the Miami Heat. A decade later, Spoelstra was shaking hands at the White House over an NBA championship trophy.
Robertson has earned the trust of the organization, and sits behind the bench every game. He's especially close to Draymond Green, and has helped Green develop into a top five player in the league these past two years. Theo works extensively with the coaching staff every day in the film room, and has committed his life to pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of the competition.
The Stanford product knows basketball, and might be the most insightful coaching prospect in the entire NBA. Although Luke Walton acted as interim head coach during Kerr's absence, the organization praised Collins' aptitude during the Warriors' blazing start. Many say that his planning and strategic contributions were invaluable during that stretch, and Steve Kerr raves about his superior intelligence. He's regarded as one of the keenest defensive minds in terms of schemes and coverages, and is quietly labeled around the league as one of the quickest studies on the assistant bench.
Collins relates to the guys, and has a knack for spotting subtleties within a player's habits. (He served as a scout for the Clippers before joining the Warriors staff)
On becoming a head coach some day:
"Eventually, down the road. I'm not in a rush to part with such a special environment. But that's the goal."
- Jarron Collins
Bram Kincheloe wrote a great piece on Jarron last year. Additionally, here is an extensive audio interview with Collins conducted via 95.7 The Game.
We haven't seen enough of him. If Nash were born an Apache warrior, he might have been the greatest who ever lived. It's not hard to picture this man chucking a spear or a tomahawk with laser precision while in full-sprint and then charging into a company of Mexican troops, wielding two obsidian swords -- one man deep, in full war paint...Or watch him turn 180 degrees, mounted with his bow in mid-gallop to harvest some venison on the run from 100 yards away.
In contrast to that vision, Steve Nash and Steve Kerr share the same sort of quiet, steady demeanor that players appreciate. Ironically, the Warriors have two back-to-back MVP point guards on their roster - what a further coincidence it would be to have two zen Steve's seated atop the coaching hierarchy.
Nash looks like he could play right now as the Warriors third string point guard; that's a quality that Steve Kerr loves in his assistants. Not only is the Canadian possibly the greatest court general who's ever played the game, but the Santa Clara product is still young enough to run with the guys in practice and teach them from a hands-on perspective.
Nash and Kerr go back all the way to the former MVP's glory days, when coach Kerr assumed GM duties in Phoenix during the 2007-2008 season. It's often said that former great players make poor coaches, but Nash wasn't born a great player, he was made one. Selected 15th overall, Steve took about four years to develop into a special point guard, and his vision within the game can only be paralleled by names like Magic and Cousy.
"Nash has got so much to give and so much knowledge. There's just not enough that you can say about his demeanor and his professionalism. Obviously, he displayed a tremendous work ethic. It's hard to find people who others will listen to unequivocally. He's one of those people. The hope is that he can touch everybody."
- Bob Myers
"He was awesome. He gave a lesson on what to look for and what to read and how to react to defenses. It was brilliant." - Luke Walton
"I think he's one of the most innovative athletes I have ever seen when it comes to pursuing greatness, whether it's conditioning, basketball drills or whatever. He's got an amazing feel for the game and an amazing mind. Steve was the most efficient player I've ever been around, and my hope is that he can help make our guys be more efficient. I think he will." - Steve Kerr
"I can't go wrong. This is the perfect environment for me to stay involved in the game, share my experience, and at the same time, not get too close to it while I see if I'm any good at it." - Steve Nash
via Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle
Kerr and Horny? Best shooting coaching duo, ever.
Steve Kerr, himself, admits that much of his style and planning for his debut coaching season with the Warriors was taken from Horny's playbook. Hornacek led the Suns to a 48-34 record during the 2013-14 season. Teammates in Phoenix during the 1988-89 season, Jeff and Steve's paths have crossed more than a few times during their journeys as players, coaches, and winners.
"Jeff and I are pretty similar personalities. There's a lot of fire inside, but pretty calm and laid back at the same time. I think players appreciate that. You don't want a huge emotional ride every single day, but you've got to have some direction and some fire. So I looked at Jeff and the job he did last year and the success he had, and I drew inspiration from that. I still watch him and watch his team with a lot of respect. They do a lot of really innovative things offensively, and they play hard."
- Steve Kerr
It's a long-shot, but you never know exactly how the summer head coaching hunt will close. While Jeff is drawing considerable interest from the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks, it's very possible that they go another direction, and leave Hornacek without a coaching job. One way for him to ensure that he is promptly hired again, would be to sign on with the Warriors. The gathering of Kerr and Hornacek would be seamless, and Jeff may just pick up his first ring in the process. A coaching foursome of Kerr, Adams, Hornacek, and Collins, might be amongst the greatest of all time, if not the best. And interestingly enough, the low egos and laid back nature of these leaders would maintain a harmonious coexistence.
"It's just a jolt of NBA reality. Every coach is sort of a victim of circumstance, good or bad. So much depends on the talent you have and the support you have and the chemistry in your organization and your locker room. Unfortunately, it's a really, really hard thing to discover or to create. I feel very lucky to have that here because I know it doesn't exist in most places."
- Steve Kerr on Jeff Hornacek's Feb. 1st firing