Kurt Helin

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr’s openness to new ideas has Warriors on brink of title


OAKLAND — It’s been noted a lot in the past few days: Golden State decided to go small and start Andre Iguodala over Andrew Bogut at the suggestion of Nick U’Ren, a 28-year-old with the title “special assistant to the head coach” who is sort of a jack of all trades for the Warriors.

The last time the Warriors were down 2-1 in a series against Memphis, it was assistant coach Ron Adams who first suggested putting Andrew Bogut on Tony Allen defensively, the creative and brilliant adjustment that changed that series around.

In both cases, head coach Steve Kerr listened to the ideas, liked them, implemented them and they have the Warriors on the brink of an NBA title. Golden State is up 3-2 over the Cleveland Cavaliers can close out the series Tuesday night with a win in Cleveland.

These two instances are high profile, but it follows the pattern of being open to input the Warriors have had all year, said assistant coach Luke Walton.

“Another thing Steve’s been great at is he wants an open line of communication with everybody…” Walton said before Game 5. “Sometimes we’ll have a plan we come down with and Draymond (Green) or Andre (Iguodala) or both of them, or whoever, will say ‘we want to guard it like this.’ And we’ll scrap what we did upstairs and say we’ll do it the way you guys want to do it, and if it’s not working this is how we’ll make the in-game adjustment.”

Not all coaches work that way. Not even close. Often it is more of a top-down dictatorship. Kerr wants to hear what everyone says. Even the special assistant to the coach in texts at 3 am.

“Coach Kerr always tells us, ‘I listen to anybody — video guy, video intern.’” Draymond Green said. “Those guys watch a ton of film. You know, sometimes they may even watch more film than coach does, they’re the ones breaking it all down. So it just says a lot about Coach Kerr’s character that he would listen and get it worked out.”

Kerr, despite his rings as a player and a pedigree that includes playing next to Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, is fairly egoless as a coach. He’s modern in that way, more like other successful new coaches (Brad Stevens in Boston, Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix). It’s a collaborative effort.

And it’s working.

It may even get Kerr another ring. And the first title for the Warriors in 40 years.

PBT Extra: Can Cleveland find a way to force a Game 7?

LeBron James

David Blatt’s Cavaliers battled the small-ball Warriors by going big. Cleveland lost by 21.

Blatt’s Cavaliers battled the small-ball Warriors by going small. Cleveland lost by 13.

In this PBT Extra, Jenna Corrado and I discuss what is next for the Cavaliers and if they have any real options for beating Golden State in Game 6 Tuesday night. With LeBron James anything is possible, but the Cavaliers are going to have to find some energy and have some role players start knocking down shots to have a chance.

Kings’ executive Vlade Divac says he’d trade DeMarcus Cousins — for Michael Jordan

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings

Here’s the reality: The Kings organization has no real desire to trade DeMarcus Cousins. They know they have a franchise cornerstone piece in the young center. George Karl likes him.

Cousins himself doesn’t want to be traded from Sacramento, either. Don’t confuse that with him trusting management, he doesn’t. They have not earned that from him. But he’s not trying to push his way out the door, either.

Yet, the rumors will not die.

So NBA.com’s David Aldridge asked Kings front office decision maker Vlade Divac all about it.

Me: So you wouldn’t entertain any offers for him at this time?

VD: Well, if it’s Michael Jordan there, I’ll think about it. (Laughs)

Well, since Jordan is pretty sure he can still beat his Hornets’ players one-on-one, maybe this is a good trade. (As an aside, I love the irony of Jordan’s statement on the team he assembled.)

Sure, we can all come up with fantasy basketball trades where the Kings would be willing to give up Cousins. If OKC decides to move Durant for him, the Kings would be in. But we all also know that is not happening.

If Cousins decides he’s had enough and starts going Vince Carter circa Toronto, then we can talk trade rumors for him. Until then, the Kings don’t want to move him, and he doesn’t want to be moved.  Can we all move on?

PBT Podcast: Can Cleveland force a Game 7 after what we saw in Game 5?

Stephen Curry, LeBron James

Have the Golden State Warriors figured the NBA Finals out and it’s a foregone conclusion how this series ends?

Or will LeBron James finally get a little help and be able to force a Game 7?

It feels more like the former to me, and that’s one of the many topics we cover in today’s edition of the PBT Podcast. We’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff breaking down Game 5 and talking about what it portends for Game 6. We also get into the Finals MVP debate. Can you imagine how awkward it would be to give it to LeBron in a losing effort?

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Relive Stephen Curry’s 37-point night (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry

OAKLAND — Stephen Curry was reportedly a little ticked off at all the attention Matthew Dellavedova was getting, with some people calling him a Curry stopper.

There is no Curry stopper.

Curry hit 7-of-13 from three on his way to 37 points in Game 5, leading Golden State to a huge win that has them one game away from an NBA title. He was doing it attacking the basket and knocking down threes. Curry looked like the MVP — and maybe the Finals MVP.

“I thought he was great,” LeBron James said of Curry. “You tip your hat off to a guy like that.  He made seven threes.  I don’t know, were any of them not contested, hand in his face, falling, stepback off the dribble?  I’m okay with that.  We’re okay with that.  I mean, you tip your hat to a guy who makes shots like that, and he’s the guy that can do it in our league.  He’s the best shooter in our league.”