Warriors head coach Steve Kerr felt that his team was tired of hearing his voice, so he used an unorthodox method to reach the players on Monday — and it worked.
Kerr allowed Andre Iguodala to run shootaround, and even had JaVale McGee lead the film session before Monday’s game against the Suns. Not only that, he let some of his players run the huddle during timeouts (watch here). Iguodala, David West and Draymond Green (who did not play in the game due to a sprained finger) were tasked with coaching the team and drawing up plays during timeouts. Green ran most of the huddles, but West and Iguodala were given the opportunity as well.
The decision Kerr made was scrutinized by some media members, but the Warriors head coach didn’t seem to mind. He explained his thinking behind it after the 129-83 win, and also noted he let the team know ahead of time that he was going to do it.
“I told them the other night after the last game [on Saturday] that we were going to do it,” Kerr said, via ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “It’s their team. I think that’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach. It’s not your team, it’s not [general manager] Bob Myers’ team, it’s not [owner] Joe Lacob’s team — although I’m not going to tell Joe that. It’s the players’ team, and they have to take ownership of it. And as coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them, but we don’t control them.”
Kerr also stated that he spoke with Jay Triano on the court immediately after the game ended so he could inform the Suns head coach that no disrespect or trolling was involved in the decision. The Warriors coach also explained why he did it.
“I told Jay afterward that it had nothing to do with being disrespectful,” Kerr said. “It had to do with me reaching my team. I have not reached them for the last month. They’re tired of my voice. I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last few years and I wasn’t reaching them, and we just figured it was probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different.”
Doing something different certainly worked out well, as the 46-point margin of victory was the Warriors’ largest ever in games against the Suns. It also tied for their fifth-largest versus any NBA team in franchise history. Kerr did say that his players were focused in the contest, and that they responded well, so maybe having them coach the team isn’t as crazy of a strategy as it first sounded.
The Warriors played like a team that was inspired on Monday night, for 48 minutes. Not only that, they scored 129 points — their highest total of 2018 so far. Kerr’s decision may raise some eyebrows, but it’s hard to question success.