Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr has had one of the most decorated careers in the NBA.
Playing under notable coaches Phil Jackson during his tenure with the Bulls and Gregg Popovich later in life with the Spurs, it is quite possible that Kerr learned a thing or two from both.
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I discussed that with notable basketball historian and author Roland Lazenby.
Check out our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Tell me something. Steve Kerr [Head Coach of the Golden St. Warriors], had the benefit of playing under Phil Jackson, Tex Winter as well and coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. From your perspective, did he gravitate more to Phil than he did Pop or did he really adopt both of their coaching philosophies and implementing them into his style in the NBA?
Roland Lazenby: I think he took a little bit of everything. He would do some of the corner series from the Triangle, there were certain things about how Phil operated; again, it wasn’t so much what Phil said. It’s what he didn’t say. He was just sort of quiet and mysterious a lot of the times [laughs]. And he was always thinking ahead of the players. But Steve picked up from D’Antoni – I believe they were both in that Phoenix culture together. Steve for a while was the GM in Phoenix but I would have to go back and check my media guide to see. They were there part of the time together, I could be wrong…but there’s no question that he pulled in a lot of D’Antoni’s views. I’ve talked with Mike and he is a very nice gentleman and a BRILLIANT offensive mind but his whole thing was, that post play was a waste of time in the NBA. You know you just didn’t have – basketball wasn’t producing people who had drop steps or had efficient scorers on the block and so D’Antoni’s whole point was we’re better off shooting 3’s and the midrange jumper just like all the analytics say is a wasted shot, and either dive to the basket for an open layup, and shoot a 3. Various versions are out of the game today. I have fussed before that all it’s done is make basketball uglier. Not true. It has made it uglier in some regards, but some nights they’re just so many jacked up bad shots. But it has also brought an efficiency to the game, it maybe might be coarse efficiency on some nights but you can’t argue with the efficiency sometimes and the analytics. I prefer a game that relies more on player instinct. On instinctual stuff. People would say the Triangle is really not about instinct, but once a player has learned to make reads, it was very instinctual for them. But either way, I think – we live in the age of player power today. And that’s good. It’s not perfect power but when the owners had all the power it wasn’t perfect either. I think it’s gonna take time to – players are pretty good – for a guy like LeBron James is pretty good at the power ‘thing’. He has a lot of power. He’s probably the most empowered player in the history of the game. He’s made some mistakes, but he doesn’t tend to repeat them from what I’ve seen. We like to keep things in boxes when we figure them out. It’s like technology. Basketball is evolving. There are certain figures that preside over that evolution. The more power the players have, it’s their gain. Naismith invented it and didn’t want it to be over coached or coached at all and so it’s going to be interesting to see where the game goes. I’m 67. You’re much younger so you’re going to get a chance to witness that. I won’t [laughs]. But I am eager to see how this all unfolds. It’s fascinating. Certainly that basketball tremendously has a lot of popularity, we’ll see if the political brew-ha-ha will try to affect that. The unbelievable profitability of basketball today. If everybody gets back on the same page, basketball is just going to keep printing money. I don’t know where it’s going to go financially. It only seems to be headed up unless the Chinese market somehow disappears on the NBA ledgers…
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That ain’t happening anytime soon [laughs]
Roland Lazenby: I don’t think so either. I agree. It’s funny to see it threatened there. That reminded everybody. From LeBron to Daryl Morey, all those folks had a good look at it. The Commissioner. Basically they were all powerless in the face of it at an age when they have power.