In his first year as an NBA head coach, Steve Kerr has led the Golden State Warriors to a franchise- and league-best 19-2 start. The Warriors currently are on a franchise-best 14-game winning streak, with a franchise-record eight consecutive road wins.
So is Kerr that good of a coach, or is he simply someone who’s in the right place at the right time?
Golden State is fourth in the NBA in points per game, third in rebounds per game, second in assists per game, third in field goal percentage, fifth in three-point percentage, eighth in team offensive rating, first in team defensive rating and sixth in points allowed per game. There likely isn’t a category that has them outside of the uppermost tier.
All of this has happened without big man David Lee, who started 67 games for the team a season ago but has played all of seven minutes this season because of a hamstring injury.
Given that the franchise has been around for 69 years and Kerr has turned this year’s team into the best in franchise history, it’s worth considering whether he’s off to the best start to a coaching career ever.
As various media outlets have reported, Kerr is just the third coach in NBA history to begin a coaching career with a record of 17-2; Syracuse’s Al Cervi in 1949-50 and Dallas’s Avery Johnson in 2004-05 and 2005-06 are the other two.
After Golden State’s win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Kerr became the first to ever start a coaching career with a 19-2 record.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Kerr receives his due at season’s end or if he’ll fall into a similar box that Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra did: Someone who simply took the helm of a talent-loaded roster at an opportunistic time. Credit has a funny way of avoiding places where it’s deserved, and it would certainly be unfortunate if Kerr were overlooked come April, when the Red Auerbach Trophy is decided.
Josh Planos has had his work featured at the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Rivals, Vice, CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. He’s currently a Digital Editor at KETV NewsWatch 7 and a freelance writer. He loves interacting with readers via Twitter (@JPlanos).