Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr Responds to Critics After Letting Players Coach vs. Suns

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green, right, calls a play from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr hit back at the critics who argued letting the players run huddles in Monday’s 129-83 win over the Phoenix Suns was disrespectful to the team’s opponents.

We have a veteran team,” Kerr said Tuesday in an interview on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco (h/t ESPN.com). “You turn over the timeout huddles to the players so that they can discuss strategy on their own. I don’t think its earth-shattering news.”

Kerr added he didn’t think the tactic was a big deal but that “it’s the world we live in so everyone is going to debate it and whether it’s a controversy or not it has to become one I guess.”

After the game, Kerr told reporters he wanted to let his players coach as a way to break up the monotony of the regular season. He said he hasn’t reached his team for the past month, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:

ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes spoke to Devin Booker and Jared Dudley, who offered slightly differing opinions on the situation. Booker said he “liked the move personally” and would use a similar approach on occasion if he were coaching in the NBA. Dudley thought the move showed to some extent the respect afforded to the 18-40 Suns.

It shows a lack of respect for an opponent, and maybe right now we don’t deserve respect,” Dudley said. “When you keep getting beat by 40, teams won’t respect you. But it’s up to us to change that.”

The veteran forward shared more of his thoughts on Twitter:

Kerr’s explanation certainly makes sense. The Warriors have won two NBA titles in three years and they’re the overwhelming favorites to win this year’s NBA Finals. The NBA’s All-Star Weekend starts Friday, too, so the players’ minds may be elsewhere as they approach a game against one of the league’s worst teams.

And the Warriors are uniquely equipped to let the players run the show. Not only does Golden State have four All-Stars, but many of the team’s key contributors have spent years together, building a level of chemistry somewhat uncommon in the NBA with the frequency of player movement.

Because of that, Kerr’s experiment is unlikely to start any sort of trend throughout the league.

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