Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Sounds Off on the Mike Brown Effect

Sacramento Kings Mike Brown Golden State Warriors

Getty Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown gestures during a game against his old team, the Golden State Warriors.

After a pair of near-misses, the Sacramento Kings finally broke through against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. On the back of big man Domantas Sabonis, who dropped 26 points, 22 rebounds and eight assists in the contest, Mike Brown’s club prevailed at Golden 1 Center by a 122-115 mark.

In doing so, the club unaffectionately dubbed as the Kangz evened its record at 6-6 and moved to a game and a half ahead of the defending-champion Dubs in the West standings.

It’s probably not much of a stretch to say that nobody was betting on the first month of the 2022-23 season playing out in such a way. And while Golden State’s continuing problems on both sides of the ball have undoubtedly played a role in the flip-flop, so, too, has Brown’s presence on the sidelines in Sacto.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has no qualms about giving his former right-hand man the credit for that — or the result of Sunday’s game — either.

Coach Kerr Sends Strong Message on Coach Brown’s Early Performance

In the wake of the loss, which was the Warriors’ seventh straight on the road to begin the season, Kerr was asked about Brown’s impact on the perpetually-retooling Kings. Specifically, the question was whether his old associate head coach had given Sacramento a new identity (namely, his own).

“Oh yeah,” Kerr responded emphatically. “Mike’s crushing it… he’s crushing it.”

Kerr was particularly impressed by the improvement the Kings have shown on the defensive side of the ball, where Brown has largely made his living in the pro coaching ranks. “They’re defending way better,” he said. “We saw them in the third game of the year and I think we scored 89 in the first half. They’ve gotten so much better at that end.”

Kings star De’Aaron Fox has a similar take on the situation. Earlier this week, Sacto’s leading scorer credited Brown for instilling good defensive habits in his players.

“I think a lot of it comes from Mike,” Fox said on ESPN’s NBA Today “I can almost have a picture-perfect defensive possession. Then [in the timeout], he’ll be like, ‘You could have done this better. You kept him in front of you the whole time, maybe you jumped a split-second too early.’ …It’s little things like that that continues to make me a better player and a better defender.”

The Bigger Improvement May Be on the Other End

In truth, the Kings’ defensive numbers still leave something to be desired, and Brown would probably be the first to admit as much. There’s not much fault to be found with their offense recently, though.

Over the last eight games — during which the club has picked up all six of its wins — Sacramento has scored 116.2 points per 100 possessions. That number is good for fourth league-wide since October 29. Meanwhile, the Kings’ 14.8 three-point makes and 38.9% conversion rate since that date are also top-five marks.

Said Kerr after his team got outscored 96-76 over the final three quarters of Sunday’s game: “Offensively, they’ve really built an identity with the shooting and the downhill [dribble hand-off] stuff with Sabonis. It’s tough to guard, so Mike has done a terrific job.”

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