Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr showed up to work on Monday night, but he did not show up to work, apparently. The former NBA Coach of the Year decided before tipoff against the Phoenix Suns that his players would handle coaching duties. They did just that, right down to giving instructions and diagramming plays during timeouts in a 123-89 Warriors victory.
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Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and others took turns coaching while Kerr took a backseat. Perhaps it was a way to congratulate himself for becoming the fastest NBA coach to earn win No. 250 on Saturday. Either way, the Warriors looked just fine under new management, beating the Suns by a whopping 46 points.
The results from Green, Iguodala, Curry and others leading the charge, according to Mark Medina of The Mercury News, were a little mixed:
Warriors veteran forward David West took over one huddle and spoke passionately on the bench. Then, Warriors forward Draymond Green did the same thing. So did Curry, who nearly drew a delay-of-game warning for taking too long in a timeout to open the second half.
“I was horrible,” Curry said. “I thought about a play. Then I forgot about the second option. Then I had two guys in the wrong place on the board.”
Eventually, Green took the most predominant role.
It seemed fitting since Green was already dressed in a suit since he sat out with a sprained left index finger. Green talked with the team during one timeout with West and McGee as his de-facto assistants. …
Green started calling plays from the sidelines. Green also stood up during the game and applauded his teammates when they made a shot.
But at least one Suns player was upset. Not surprisingly, it was Daniels, who has had it with Phoenix being the NBA’s punch line. Asked if what Kerr did bothered him, Daniels replied, “Hell yeah.”
Then he took a direct shot at Kerr.
“It’s disrespectful,” Daniels said. “I don’t think it’s hard to coach those guys, though. So I think anybody can do it.”
Suns players had differing views on the maneuver, with one telling ESPN’s Chris Haynes that it is on Phoenix to change how opponents esteem them.
“It shows a lack of respect for an opponent, and maybe right now we don’t deserve respect,” Jared Dudley told ESPN. “When you keep getting beat by 40, teams won’t respect you. But it’s up to us to change that.”
“You can look at it two ways: You can say anybody can coach that team, or you can say it’s a [good method],” Suns star Devin Booker told ESPN. “I liked the move personally. If I was a coach, I’d do that throughout the year, so I wouldn’t even look at it as disrespectful.
“I’m sure people are going to say it’s disrespectful, but I think Steve is an easygoing guy who has that relationship with his guys. But, if he didn’t have four All-Stars, I don’t think he’d be doing that.”
Monday’s 46-point loss marked the Suns fourth 40-point loss this season — the same number of 40-point losses the rest of the NBA has combined in 2017-18. Additionally, the Suns‘ four 40-point losses ties the total number of 40-point losses the franchise logged in its first 49 seasons.
Kerr, however, insisted that his forgoing game-night duties was about sending a message to his own players, not the Suns.
“I told [Suns interim coach] Jay [Triano] that people may make a big deal of it and it had nothing to do with being disrespectful,” Kerr told the Republic. “It had everything to do with me trying to reach my team. I haven’t been able to reach them the last month. They are tired of my voice and I”m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last few years. 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.”
Triano, for his part, did not seem particularly irked by Kerr’s tactics.
“I noticed their plays were a little better out of timeout tonight,” Triano told ESPN jokingly. “Nah, I didn’t have a problem with what Steve did.”
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