Why it took Dray entire career to realize Kerr is ‘mastermind' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Steve Kerr is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, but his unique basketball IQ wasn't fully appreciated by Draymond Green until recently.
The Warriors forward joined "The Pat Bev Podcast" with Philadelphia 76ers guard and host Patrick Beverley and explained why it took his entire 11-year NBA career to realize just how special of a coach Kerr is.
"You know what's crazy? And I can be 100 percent honest with you, I never understand or respected Steve Kerr's brilliance as much as I have after this year," Green said. "And I think a large part of it was my immaturity and just continuing to mature. I've been with Steve Kerr since I was 24. I'm 33. He's literally watched my family; my entire life is different from when Steve Kerr came into my life to where it is now. We've grown through all of that. When I tell you, number one, I've had to continue to get smarter and as I've learned more about the game, the more Steve Kerr's brilliance is so evident to me.
"He always knows the right adjustment. We beat [the] Sacramento [Kings] in this series, we really should've lost in Sac. Steph Curry in that Game 7 was obviously great. He is incredible. Nuts. He wasn't letting us lose. Steph wasn't letting us lose Game 7, but Steve got us through every other one of those games with adjustments. He was just making adjustments and then obviously you have to go play but with those adjustments, he got us through that series. And then Steph did what he did Game 7 and sent them home."
Over the last decade-plus, Green has contributed to Golden State's success leading to six NBA Finals appearances and four championships. His defensive and leadership contributions make up in masses for his lack of scoring, and it's worked for the Warriors, especially with teammates like Curry and Klay Thompson.
But over the last couple of years, Green wasn't satisfied with just playing -- and winning -- the game. He studied it. He fell in love with it. And Kerr's influence had a lot to do with that.
"Steve Kerr, I walk into film and he just sits there, legs crossed, leaning back in his chair, and he just has a smirk on his face," Green explained. "We just lost the f--king game and he just sits back there with his legs crossed with a little smirk on his face. I walk in like, "What's up coach?" I come in with my notes. And then he's like, 'Yeah they were doing this, this but I got this adjustment.' Man, he is a mastermind.
"And I think one other important trait that Steve has is he's so confident and certain of himself that he ain't afraid of letting one of his guys take the wheel. Whether that's me, whether that's something Steph thinks, whether that's something [Bruce Fraser] thinks, Kenny Atkinson, he's so certain of himself that he's not afraid to let a guy take the wheel. ... I'm telling you, man, dude is a mastermind. And it really took me until my 11th year to really be able to understand it. It's crazy."
Green signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension with the Warriors last month. He'll get the opportunity to continue to fight with the same guys he came into the league with and chase more titles, all while learning from a hoops genius like Kerr.