After a forced two-year sabbatical from completely dominating the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are back in a big, bad way. Through 21 games, the Bay Area crew is sitting pretty with an 18-3 record while boasting the league’s top defense (with a 99.8 D-rating) and third-best offense (112.4 O-rating).
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry has stormed to the top of the MVP pecking order by logging a 28-7-6-2 line and knocking down 41.2% of his triples.
The resurgence has worked the same wonders for Steve Kerr, who once again bears the look of one of the game’s all-time great coaches. That said, he never really stopped being that guy. With five Finals appearances, three championships and a career winning percentage of 69.4 to his credit, Kerr is, was and shall forever be a savant in his field.
In spite of all the success he has had, though, Kerr has never really dwelled on his legacy. His concern is winning the day, as opposed to winning the GOAT debate. That’s not to say he isn’t driven, though. He’s still got a bad case of the sickness that only getting Ws can keep at bay.
Fear of Losing Continues to Push Kerr
Sam Amick engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with Kerr for a December 2 feature published by The Athletic. During the chat, the hoops scribe brought up the L-word, which Kerr immediately dismissed as something that doesn’t even enter his thought process.
For him, it’s the winning — or, perhaps, the fear of not winning — that inspires him. Not his legacy or any adulation that might come his way.
“My competitive desire drives me. But like a lot of players at this level, the fear of losing is an even bigger motivator. So even though I don’t stop and think about legacy or anything like that, I just want to f****** win, you know?” Kerr said.
“It burns in me. I want to win so badly. It’s kind of how I’ve been since I was five years old,” he added.
It’s a mindset that could make someone insufferable if placed in the wrong environment or with the wrong group. Luckily, Kerr has found his people in Golden State State.
“Draymond’s the same way and Steph’s the same way and Klay’s the same way. And what I love is that collectively, we’re getting off the mat this year.”
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To say that the Dubs are getting off the mat is probably an understatement. There’s a real possibility that they’re the best team in the Association right now and the favorites to win the NBA title. But when Amick asked Kerr if the team’s early success had changed anything where their internal goals are concerned, he scoffed.
“Well, that’s what you guys have to decide,” Kerr said.
He confessed that he’s happy to be sitting at the contender’s table once more. However, he also knows that nothing is guaranteed in this league and that a season can turn on a dime.
“It’s great to be back in the mix. What I’ve learned, though, in five trips to the Finals, is that so much is just up in the air — circumstances you can’t control,” he said.
“We think we can win a championship, but I’ve watched in the Finals. I’ve watched two guys get season-ending injuries. I watched Kevin Love and Kyrie [Irving] go down the first year we won [against Cleveland in 2015]. I’ve seen everything. I saw as a Laker fan growing up, with Magic Johnson and Byron Scott holding their hamstrings [in] the Detroit series [in ’89].
“Just having watched this and been a part of it for so long, who the hell knows what’s going to happen? So you might as well enjoy it while it’s going.”