Warriors' Steve Kerr must change coaching style, Kevin O'Connor says

Katie Woo
·3 min read

Why O'Connor believes Kerr must change coaching style originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It's been a less than ideal start to the season for the Warriors, and that's putting it lightly.

After concluding their opening road trip with back-to-back wins, Golden State returned home to Chase Center on Friday with some fresh optimism -- which was quickly diminished by Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland played spoiler on the Warriors' home opener, trouncing Golden State 123-98 on New Years Day.

Sure, the team is without Klay Thompson for the year, and Draymond Green was on a minutes restriction in his first game of the season. Still, many NBA analysts took to Twitter to voice their concern over the Warriors and head coach Steve Kerr, including The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor.

"The best coaches adapt the system to best maximize the talents of the players," O'Connor tweeted Friday. "Steve Kerr has done none of that with these Warriors. Zero. Kerr must change things soon or this will get uglier. Start by running more pick-and-roll with [Steph] Curry and [James] Wiseman. Keep it simple."

O'Connor's remarks begs the question: Is he right?

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In Friday's rout, the Warriors showcased many of the factors that have attributed to their early season struggles: poor rebounding, lackluster defense and drastic inefficiency in 3-point shooting. While the Curry and Wiseman pick-and-roll play call has looked the most promising, Golden State's stifling offense has also been a clear red flag, advertising that Kerr's offense might be a tad overpowering for a team still looking to find both it's footing and it's chemistry.

Unlike years prior, the Warriors offense is one that lacks timing and trust. Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, has found himself as the Warriors' starting center, despite being just 19 years old. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. have yet to gel in their redefined roles, as the duo continues to struggle in their attempt to make up for Thompson's absence. Even Curry, one of the best shooters in NBA history, has floundered beyond the arc -- shooting just 32.1 percent from downtown. 

Curry isn't the only one struggling. Collectively, the Warriors are shooting league-worsts from the field (39.8 percent) and from 3-point range (30.6 percent). 

And while the Warriors lowly offensive numbers won't last forever (at least, they shouldn't), Kerr might need to re-evaluate his offense once more.

The team's dismal play has opened themselves up to plenty of criticism, and Kerr is no exception. Kerr has already been critical of his coaching style this year --  and has already tweaked the offense. However, after Saturday's practice, the former NBA Coach of the Year took more responsibility.

“We’re just disorganized at both ends of the floor, and that's on me as the head coach,” Kerr said to Bay Area reporters. “So, we have to get more organization, and that’s what we worked on today at practice.”

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It's important to remember that it still is obviously significantly early in the season, and the Warriors will likely endure their fair share of growing pains. Although the offensive issues have been glaring, they haven't necessarily been unexpected.

“That's what the early part of this season is going to be like, frankly,” Kerr said. “It's going to be about taking some lumps and then refusing to give in, but rather take the lessons that we learned, work on those things and then come out and compete like crazy the next game and execute better.”

The Warriors will have the opportunity to do exactly that as they take on the Trail Blazers for Round 2 on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT. While Golden State's early tribulations won't magically disappear, it is imperative that changes are made to swing the Warriors in the right direction. 

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Golden State
+333+9.5O 225.5
LA Lakers
-455-9.5U 225.5