Steve Kerr admitted he tried to get ejected from the Warriors’ latest preseason game.
“Yes, I was trying to make a point and trying to back up my guys. We had all these offensive fouls one after another and I finally had enough”, he said after the 117-109 loss to Sacramento.
Many coaches have been frustrated at the officiating this preseason. This is not new. And Kerr knows this. These games are a testing ground to evaluate points of emphasis and players and coaches are often left confused and angry.
His explanation for the outburst? “I wanted to be back in the locker room. We have a good postgame spread and we usually have it out there by late third quarter. I wanted to be the first one to the buffet.”
His humour disarmed the waiting media and ensured no further probing about the bigger picture.
He says the team had a terrific training camp and that they will bounce back quickly from the disappointing performance but his oversized reaction is not a good indication of what’s to come.
Golden State is taking aim at a fifth consecutive trip to the NBA finals, and is a prohibitive favourite to win a third straight championship, but there are plenty of red flags.
During the offseason Steph Curry admitted to Bill Simmons that last year the team struggled more than ever before to get through the grind of the regular season, and agreed that having Demarcus Cousins in the team would give them a burst of energy. The idea being that a new storyline would help a team that was in danger of getting stale.
Unfortunately Cousins is not expected to contribute until after Christmas and Golden State will be hoping to avoid the slumps that dogged them for large periods of last season.
As you would expect, Curry says he was encouraged by his coach’s outburst.
“We’re all in this together and we have to have each other’s backs, it’s kind of one of our core principles. He has opportunities to try to influence things with outbursts if he needs to, or something he says to us in the locker room or whatever the case is. Knowing that we’re out there giving everything we’ve got throughout the year, when Coach has your back and is not pinching his wallet when he has an opportunity to speak his mind, that means a lot.”
It’s clear Kerr has the love and support of his players but technical fouls and ejections can only do so much.
Winning three straight championships is a goal only achieved by four squads in the history of the NBA. It has only happened twice in the past 52 years.
With the weight of history on their collective shoulders – and Steve Kerr’s troublesome back – on top of the ongoing distraction of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson’s upcoming free agency, this season will certainly be their toughest campaign to date.
Andre Miller once faked a timeout to get a cheap layup in a fairly meaningless moment of a regular season game during his days in Portland. That trick play was on all the highlights that evening but some wondered, why not save such an effective tactic for the playoffs?
You could make the same argument for Kerr’s ejection. Maybe he made his point. Perhaps it galvanised his team a little. But why would you dilute the tactic before the real season begins, let alone the post-season, when you need every advantage you can muster.