The Golden State Warriors are in a playoff position that would have most teams chomping at the bit.
A first round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. A week to prepare are for the second round. It was exactly what the Warriors had hoped for to begin the playoff run.
Well, almost exactly.
The one caveat to another Golden State championship push is the absence of head coach Steve Kerr, who could be potentially sidelined for the remainder of the 2017 NBA Playoffs due to continued complications following a botched back surgery in 2015.
The good news for the Dubs, however, is that Mike Brown has since stepped into the role of interim head coach after serving as Kerr’s top assistant during the 2016-17 regular season.
But as questions have circulated regarding concerns about Kerr’s untimely sidelining, Brown has the players around him ready to succeed and ultimately lead Golden State to another Finals run.
Brown touched on this on Wednesday morning, saying:
“I’ve gone through this before, you know, with teams in the past. This team is a little different. The team that I went through with in the past, they were a little younger and not as experienced especially come playoff time.”
The team that Brown referenced, the Cleveland Cavaliers that lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, was indeed a very young team and at the time had a fresh LeBron James competing in his first of seven NBA Finals.
This season, Brown has the luxury of coaching a team in which 13 of the 15 players on the roster have played in a playoff series at one time or another. On top of that, eight out of that 13 have participated in an NBA Finals at some point during their careers.
That presence will bode well for Brown and company as they will have a veteran-dense roster that knows how to get the job done in the postseason.
Kevin Durant echoed that sentiment:
“We’ve got guys that have been through it before. We’ve played in big playoff games. We’ve been in the league for the long time.”
Durant also commented on how the players have been making the transition easier for Brown and the rest of the coaching staff:
“Just hammer out the concepts we do every single day. From the offense and defense end it’s not about, you know, ‘make sure you get your work after practice. Make sure you take care of your bodies,’ you know, stuff that pros are supposed to do every day.”
“And when you have guys like D-West (David West) and Zaza (Pachulia) and ‘Dre (Andre Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston), guys who’ve been there before. 10 plus years in the league. Myself. All the way from, you know, to Steph (Stephen Curry) and Dray (Draymond Green) so everybody who’s been here for so long and who’s been in the league for so long, just know how to take care of what they’re supposed to take care of as far as getting their bodies right and their mind’s right, working on your game and then coach Brown just does his job as far as, you know, coaching us up on the basketball.”
With the support of the team behind him and the player taking care of all of the little things, Brown looks to be in good shape to take the helm of the ship that is the Golden State Warriors while still keeping the struggling Kerr in his ear.
Brown also said that while Kerr may not be able to coach on the sidelines during the games, communication between himself and the current head coach has not been impeded and that they speak regularly:
“(Kerr) and I are in constant communication all the time. We spoke, and we obviously communicated via text yesterday, and then we spoke at length after the Utah-Clippers game last night.”
With a week to prepare before facing the winner of that Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers series, which the Jazz currently lead 3-2, updates on Kerr’s progress are expected to be released by Warriors head of basketball operations, Bob Meyers in the coming days. But in the event that Kerr cannot coach in the second round, Brown will have more than enough time to get his ducks in a row in preparation to coach his first NBA playoff series since 2007. Especially considering the team that surrounds him.