The most impressive coach in each the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will coach in the All-Star game.
With little doubt, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and Warriors coach Steve Kerr would finish 1-2 if Coach of the Year voting were held today (Don’t ask Dwight Howard to separate the two). In only a partial coincidence, their teams have already clinched their conferences’ best records through Feb. 1, the cutoff for determining All-Star coaches.
Budenholzer nabbed the honor last night when Atlanta beat the Pacers, and Kerr got it later with Golden State’s 126-113 win over the Rockets and the Trail Blazers’ 118-113 loss to the Suns.
Kerr joins Larry Bird (1998 Indiana Pacers), Paul Westphal (1993 Phoenix Suns), Chris Ford (1991 Boston Celtics), Pat Riley (1982 Los Angeles Lakers), Billy Cunningham (1978 Philadelphia 76ers), Larry Brown (1977 Denver Nuggets), Ed Macauley (1959 St. Louis Hawks), George Senesky (1956 Philadelphia Warriors) and Charley Eckman (1955 Fort Wayne Pistons) as the only rookie coach to lead an All-Star team.
With Golden State, Kerr has taken a talented team and turned it into a juggernaut. The Warriors allow the fewest points per possession and score the fourth most in the league. Kerr has implemented a more-varied offense that better takes advantage of Stephen Curry’s and Klay Thompson’s skills, and the defense has improved behind Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. Make no mistake: Kerr has done a good job, but this team is loaded.
And to think, Kerr could have been coaching the Knicks.