The Golden State Warriors completed a 4-0 sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, winning by a final score of 128-103. With this upcoming week off as they await the winner of the Clippers-Jazz series, the biggest drama in Golden State deals with the health of their head coach Steve Kerr, who has been experiencing headaches and other symptoms stemming from his back surgery. Specifically, Kerr has dealt with spinal fluid leakage, which has triggered a lot of these symptoms.
Kerr has addressed the media saying that within the next week or two, he will make a final decision of as to whether or not he'll coach for the remainder of the playoffs. He doesn't want to be in and out of the lineup and be a distraction, so he'll either give it a go or Mike Brown will take over the coaching duties as he continues to recover.
The Warriors have gone without Steve Kerr before, but this could be the first time they'll be looking to a win a championship without him at the helm in the playoffs. While I'm sure he'd keep a strong presence if he's unable to go, his absence on the bench would still loom large. Mike Brown would have a ton of pressure on him to keep the Warriors in championship level form.
The good news for the Warriors is that in Kerr's absence, they've done very well. Under Luke Walton, they had the best record in the NBA and finished the season with an historic 73-9 record. During the playoffs this year, they've gone 2-0 without Kerr and seem to still be the same well-oiled machine that they've been during these past three seasons. Playing under Mike Brown will be different, but he's inheriting a great situation and system to work with. If he were to mess things up, one would almost have to wonder if he was trying to do so. All he needs to do is sit back, let the players do their thing, and offer reassuring words of encouragement should a game get close. There are so many leaders on this Warriors team in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. These guys know what to do and really ought to make things as easy as possible for Mike Brown.
In my opinion, the Warriors can absolutely win a championship without Steve Kerr and their ability to do so should not be taken as a slight to him. It should be taken as a compliment. He has created such an effective system for his players and gotten them to buy in to the point that they run on autopilot this late in the season. At this point, I think you could have Kermit the Frog in a suit and tie on the Warriors' bench and it wouldn't make a difference. They are that good.
I think the only concern for the Warriors is whether or not Mike Brown makes the right decisions in crunch time, but in such moments, he can rely on the plethora of leaders he has on his team to help him make the right decisions. These guys know what to do late in games and so Mike Brown really shouldn't feel that much pressure when games get close. He just needs to make sure he keeps the Warriors in the same groove they've been in all season and not mess with anything. So long as he does this, I think the Warriors will be in great shape.
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