Steve Kerr’s diplomatic approach was on full display at his introductory press conference.
On Tuesday afternoon at the Golden State Warriors downtown Oakland practice facility, the team’s new point man skillfully dodged some tricky questions thrown his way.
Kerr remarked that he’s already received a “fantastic reception” from his new players, but none of them were there to corroborate that story. When asked if he thought the current group was a “championship-caliber” squad, Kerr instead described the team as “very good.”
Here are some of the highlights from the press conference including quotes from both Kerr and GM Bob Myers and videos, as well.
Note: Questions paraphrased but all answers directly transcribed.
Myers on his first impression of Kerr:
In Steve, we found one of the most genuine, respectful, committed people that you could meet in any walk of the NBA.
Kerr on whether he had any tough questions for the Warriors brain trust considering they had just parted ways with a highly successful coach in Mark Jackson:
I had a lot of questions and I felt like I gained a lot of clarity on the circumstances of the situation. I think what was probably the most refreshing for me was that Bob and [majority owner] Joe [Lacob] admitted mistakes along the way.
Kerr on the lessons he has learned as a broadcaster and how he’ll apply them on the bench:
I feel like broadcasting had helped prepare me. Now, there’s no pressure—I’m still undefeated as a TNT broadcaster, so, that doesn’t factor in. But the preparation, the strategy and meeting with the coaches before every game has been an incredible learning experience for me.
The new coach on the job that his predecessor Jackson did:
I think Mark Jackson did an excellent job, particularly in emphasizing defense and rebounding and toughness. When you think about where this club was a few years ago, the entire organization has changed and a lot of that has to do with Mark. A lot of it has to do with the roster. A lot of it has to do with the organization and new leadership.
Busy with his broadcasting duties, Kerr hasn’t yet had the chance to weigh in on the roster:
Personnel stuff, were just getting to that point. I haven’t even moved up here, I’m waiting for the San Antonio [Spurs] series to end. So, as soon as it’s over, I’ll be here and I’ll sit down with Bob and put in my two cents on the personnel side.
Myers disputing the claim that the Stan Van Gundy was the Warriors top choice and that they only pursued Kerr after Van Gundy accepted the job with the Detroit Pistons:
I would say that when we began the coaching search we identified a short list of candidates and Steve was one of them, Stan was one of them, a couple of other people. We immediately reached out and said that we’d like to meet with Steve. Unfortunately, Steve was going through the process with the [New York] Knicks. So, we felt at that time we were not going to be able to interview Steve, let alone hire him.
(At this point, both Lacob and minority owner Peter Guber began nodding their heads emphatically in the front row.)
So, I read the report that Stan was out first choice or Steve was our first choice. My opinion is, and the ownership shares this, you don’t designate a first choice until you’ve actually met with somebody. So, that’s how we went about the process. I know it’s been reported a little bit differently.
Myers on how the Warriors almost left Oklahoma City without Kerr as their new coach:
We actually considered—following the Steve meeting—flying to another city to meet with another coach. We were five minutes away from doing that if we had felt like Steve was going another direction. A lot of the candidates we were targeting it was very fluid, it moved very quickly as we all saw.
Myers on whether there was any rift between Jackson and Warriors minority owner and consultant Jerry West:
I think they had a relationship certainly, they spoke quite a bit. Obviously, sometimes things get taken out of context, but they spoke, they speak. I think they have a good rapport. So, I think that whole story, so to speak, was a little bit overdone.
Lots of people around the league say you need to throw out the seeds in the loaded Western Conference because all the playoff teams are so good. But Lacob has said that he thinks the Warriors should have been a top four seed. So, how do you view this issue?
When I talked to Greg Popovich, who I consulted during this process…He said those exact words, ‘Throw out the seeds.It doesn’t matter.”…The goal if you’re a playoff team is always to get home-court advantage. You want to give yourself every edge…To me, the goal is not a finite number of wins, it’s not a seed. It’s, let’s put together a strong team that can win and play on both sides of the ball…Having a swing at the plate year in and year out, that’s what we’re after here. Some years that might mean we’re a one seed, some years that might mean we slip out of the playoffs altogether.
In the video below, Myers discusses the search for new assistants and whether landing Kerr was a “coup.”
When will Kerr’s new staff be assembled?
There’s a lot of different jobs that need to be filled and we really want to get it right. So, it could drag out over the next month or so.
Was prying Kerr away from New York a “coup”?
I think it’s a coup in the respect of we targeted somebody that believed in us as much as we believed in him. But again, it’s such a results-driven business and I think Steve acknowledged we have to perform, we have to produce.
In the following video, Kerr comments on how he intends to work with Myers and Lacob.
What will the “interaction” be like between you, Lacob and Myers?
I’m going to be talking to Bob everyday. But Joe and I won’t have a ton of interaction.