Next Tuesday night, Oct. 27, when the Golden State Warriors raise a banner, get their rings, and begin defense of their NBA title, coach Steve Kerr may well be watching from the comfort of his own home.
The Warriors’ coach has been taking time off to recover from multiple back surgeries this summer, and while he has been around the team more of late it looks like he could miss the start of the season at least, according to a report at ESPN by Marc Stein and Ethan Sherwood Strauss.
”He still doesn’t know,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said after practice Monday in San Diego. “He’s not going to force a return. There’s no timetable still. He’s been around more lately, which is great. As long as it’s not affecting his recovery, I think it’s healthy for the guys to see him.
“Steve’s brilliant at giving quick, clean messages to the players when they need it. He’s been able to do that the last couple days. He just told me I’m doing a great job, just keep doing what you’re doing; the guys are going to take care of some stuff you’re probably stressing about; we have really good players and so we’ll be fine.”
Although the Warriors have repeatedly stressed that no one can forecast how long it will take Kerr to recover, one source close to the situation conceded over the weekend that the team is bracing for the possibility that the coach will be unavailable “for a little while.”
With the entire core of the championship team back running the same system, the Warriors should be just fine “for a little while” without Kerr. What matters is having him on the bench — and in the practices — later in the season to make sure the Warriors don’t slip on building good habits and the other things they need to do to repeat as champs.
In the interim, Walton gets the chance to show he should have a shot in the big chair somewhere with a mini-audition.