The Warriors haven’t gotten off to the best starts as of late, and as part of an interesting tactic to get players involved and engaged early, head coach Steve Kerr handed the timeout coaching duties over to the players during Monday night’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns.
Steve Kerr's just letting the Warriors coach themselves. pic.twitter.com/GIRPtyMWML— ESPN (@espn) February 13, 2018
Kerr explained why he decided to let the players coach after Golden State’s lopsided 46-point victory.
Steve Kerr on why he let his players coach tonight’s game against Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/TpEyvl9DoY— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 13, 2018
“I told them the other night after the last game that they were gonna do it. It’s their team,” the Warriors coach said after the game. “I think that’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach: It’s not your team, it’s not Bob Myers’ team, it’s not Joe Lacob’s team — although I’m not gonna tell Joe that. It’s the players’ team. It’s their team. They have to take ownership of it, and as coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them. But we don’t control them. They determine their own fate. I don’t feel like we’ve focused well at all in the last month. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought they communicated really well together and they drew up some nice plays. It was a good night for the guys.”
Kerr couldn’t have picked a better team to experiment against. After all, the Suns are only 18-39 and are likely only the brink of their sixth straight loss tonight. The tactic was even perceived by many (including us) by a sign of disrespect against a lowly opponent.
But the Warriors haven’t been their completely dominant selves as of late. They’ve gotten off to particularly slow starts, which Kerr attributed to a lack of focus. What better way to get players more involved than making them coach themselves?
It's Draymond Green's turn with the coaching clipboard during this timeout pic.twitter.com/64JbEWwCuE— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 13, 2018
How did the Suns feel about it?
Even if the Warriors were doing it for the betterment of their own team, it seems likely they chose the Suns to work on the experiment because they weren’t overly concerned about the game. According to ESPN, Jared Dudley felt the same way.
“It shows a lack of respect for an opponent, and maybe right now we don’t deserve respect. When you keep getting beat by 40, teams won’t respect you. But it’s up to us to change that.”
Kerr also spoke with Suns head coach Jay Triano to explain his process and Triano took it in stride.
“I noticed their plays were a little better out of timeout tonight. Nah, I didn’t have a problem with what Steve did.”