Photo: David Zalubowski, Associated Press
In May 2014, when he rebuffed an offer from the Knicks to take over the Warriors, Steve Kerr knew he was inheriting an enviable situation.
The Southern California native wouldn’t need to leave his home state for his first head-coaching job. With a strong core of young players headlined by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State was poised to build off a 51-win season.
But even Kerr couldn’t have predicted everything that led up to his 300th career game Tuesday night: three NBA finals appearances, two championships, a league-record, 73-win season. His 82.9-percent winning clip is the best in NBA history for a head coach entering his 300th game.
“I’ve definitely changed just in terms of my knowledge of the NBA,” Kerr said, reflecting on how much he has changed in the past 3½ seasons. “I came in with a lot of ideas, but I’m not sure if I really knew what the hell I was doing. I pretended like I did. I think the key for any coach is to have talent at the beginning.
“When you have a lot of talent from the beginning of your coaching career, you can implement things that work, then you can get credibility for winning, and grow as a coach while you’re winning. I was very fortunate to have this job as my first one.”
Kerr has Golden State well-positioned to chase its third NBA title in four years. In addition to boasting the league’s highest-scoring offense, it ranks sixth in defensive rating. The Warriors are 1½ games ahead of Houston for the top Western Conference seed, but they have yet to maximize their potential.
More than a loaded roster, many credit Golden State’s egalitarian, joyful ethos for the team’s success. Kerr, who balances a competitive edge with an easygoing approach, realizes that such a locker-room culture wouldn’t be possible without players who jibe with what he is about.
“When you come in, you want to have a style, and for that style to be reflected by the team,” Kerr said. “I think for me, having the players that we do made my vision so much easier to achieve.”
Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @Con_Chron