Steve Kerr, Mike D’Antoni trade compliments before crucial Warriors-Rockets Game 4
Ahead of a critical Game 4 in the Western Conference semifinals, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and and Houston Rockets tactician Mike D’Antoni were highly complimentary.
D’Antoni and Kerr have been bitter head coaching rivals over the past few seasons with their respective teams, but per Shane Young of ClutchPoints, the two were caught sharing praise ahead of Monday’s high-stakes contest.
D’Antoni commended Kerr for managing the egos of a star-studded Warriors lineup, saying that he has done a great job instilling the championship mentality in his team.
“He’s got a bunch of guys that are high-spirited, winners, and a lot of egos I’m sure. But he manages it perfectly and they come together to play like champions. So you got to say he’s doing a great job,” D’Antoni said.
On the other hand, Kerr described his Rockets counterpart as an incredible offensive tactician and admired his “great feel about offense in basketball.”
“He’s always had a great feel about offense in basketball for floor spacing. I think he really revolutionized the game with those Phoenix teams,” Kerr said.
“I think where he’s adapted is to the personnel. In Phoenix, it was all about ball movement and here (Houston) it’s all about creating space for isolations for Harden, Paul, and Gordon. So he understands his personnel and puts those guys in a great position to succeed. Mike is a great coach.”
Clearly, the two NBA legends respect each other as their quotes entail. Perhaps Steve Kerr is correct about Mike D’Antoni’s success in creating a high-octane offense, and one would be hard-pressed to find a more impactful coaching job in D’Antoni’s career than his “7 Seconds or Less” offensive system with the Phoenix Suns that kickstarted the modern NBA’s pace-and-space era.
It must be noted that both D’Antoni and Kerr were with the Suns organization at the same time in 2007-08: D’Antoni was the head coach and Kerr was the General Manager. Of course, D’Antoni vamoosed to the Knicks thereafter before starting up an ill-fated gig with the Lakers from 2012-14.
Kerr’s head coaching career, by comparison, has been charmed from the start as he inherited an incredible Warriors team. Since joining the Dubs in 2014-15, the lowest win total the team has compiled was this season’s 57-25. In five seasons in Bay Area, his coaching record is 322-88. In the Playoffs, it’s 69-23.
Both coaches have had great careers, and it’s good to see the two trade compliments ahead of what will likely be a feisty contest between their two current teams.
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