Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats great Steve Kerr has credentials for NBA Coach of the Year



Steve Kerr is preparing for his first NBA playoffs as a head coach (YouTube video screen shot)

Steve Kerr is preparing for his first NBA playoffs as a head coach (YouTube video screen shot)

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The Golden State Warriors were the talk of this NBA season, along with the Atlanta Hawks, and both have coaches with ties to the Arizona basketball program.

Steve Kerr, the first-year head coach of the Western Conference’s top team, Golden State, is one of the most popular Arizona players to wear the uniform. His gratitude for his school included him donating $1 million to the athletic program earlier this year.

Atlanta is coached by Mike Budenholzer, a Holbrook, Ariz., native who maintains a strong relationship with former Arizona assistant coach Jim Rosborough. The Hawks hired Rosborough as a regional scout because of Budenholzer’s past with him when he attended Lute Olson’s camps and workouts with the Wildcats when he started his coaching career in 1994.

With the NBA regular season ending Wednesday, it appears obvious that Kerr and Budenholzer will earn the coach of the year for their respective conferences. Kerr should claim the NBA’s overall coach of the year honor.

Kerr’s winning percentage (.817 with a 67-15 record) ranks as the highest among head coaches in their first full season as head coach. The 67 wins is the most in a season in franchise history.

The Warriors finished the regular season with 39 home wins, the most in a single season by a Western Conference team in NBA history.

Golden State finished this season with a franchise-best 28 games with at least 30 assists. The record in such games: 25-3.

The Warriors ended the regular season with a perfect 40-0 record when keeping opponents under 100 points, an NBA-best mark for a single season.

All that is behind them as the NBA playoffs are a new season. Kerr has not coached in a playoff series before. The Warriors open a best-of-seven game series with New Orleans on Saturday.


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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:

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Kerr, however, has plenty of playoff experience as a player, winning five NBA titles with Chicago and San Antonio.

“The biggest thing you have to remember during the playoffs is you can’t get too up or too down after a win or a loss,” Kerr said in a video released by Golden State. “It really is a long process.

“It’s a huge challenge and our guys will be looking forward to it.”

Golden State has not advanced to the NBA Finals since the Warriors won the title in 1974-75.


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[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


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