When the Sacramento Kings fired coach Luke Walton last week, many opined that the franchise could try to lure Warriors associate head coach Kenny Atkinson up to the state’s capital. But Steve Kerr isn’t losing much sleep about the possibility.
During his weekly appearance on 95.7 The Game’s “Damon & Ratto” Tuesday, the Warriors coach said he’s not worried about losing an assistant like Atkinson or Mike Brown in the middle of the season. You can listen to the full interview below:
“I can think of only one instance, which was last year when Chris Finch was hired by Minnesota [from the Toronto Raptors],” Kerr said. “It’s not a common occurrence and it’s nothing I’ve given a second thought to this year. My feeling is always, if guys on our staff have an opportunity to become a head coach or elevate from a behind-the-bench to a front-of-the-bench role, I’m excited for them. That’s exactly what they should be thinking -- improving their careers and moving up the ladder. If it happens, that’s a good thing. Generally it doesn’t happen during the regular season.”
Atkinson actually has been working from home as he recovers from a leg injury during an October workout. Kerr told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he and Atkinson still talk on a daily basis trying to figure out new ideas and strategy. Atkinson is renowned for his analytics-driven acumen.
The Warriors tote the NBA’s best record at 15-2. While the new personnel has certainly helped, Kerr said the new-look coaching staff has helped as well. Along with Atkinson, the Warriors brought in European big-man specialist Dejan Milojevic and hired Jama Mahlalela from the Toronto Raptors this past offseason.
As the Warriors slogged through two playoff-free seasons the past two years, Kerr said he recognized the need for new energy within the building. The team has a new practice structure this season as a result, among other changes.
“We needed some new energy, new blood, new ideas,” Kerr said. “The whole organization felt that. It wasn’t just our coaching staff, but talking to [president of basketball operations and general manager] Bob [Myers], [assistant general manager] Kirk [Lacob], talking to people in the front office, we all felt it. So we made some changes. We’re in a good place.”