In hindsight, it was a no-brainer that Steve Kerr made the right decision to coach the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks. Three NBA titles and two more NBA Finals appearances later and you find it difficult to figure out why it was that difficult of a decision to begin with.
Back in 2014, it was a difficult decision for Kerr. As one does when facing a difficult decision he sought advice from those around him.
In an appearance on The Problem with Jon Stewart, Kerr revealed that while he grappled with the decision, he received a piece of advice from a friend that helped him decide.
“Which job do you think Phil would take?”
Steve Kerr on why he took the Warriors job in 2014, ahead of the Knicks offer.
Talent is everything. pic.twitter.com/y7OAZpzbAf
— Gboye (@mcgboye) December 10, 2021
“I talked to coaching friends of mine and they all said the same thing. They said, ‘Your talent is everything in coaching.’ And it’s true. I mean, I remember saying, ‘Well Phil Jackson is my guy.’ And one of my good friends said, ‘Which job do you think Phil would take?'”
That’s pretty good advice and they’re correct. It really is about the talent in basketball (or most other pro sports). Kerr took the Warriors job and in his first year as head coach, took Golden State to a 67-15 record and the NBA championship. That led to four more Finals appearances, including back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 with a good shot at going back this season.
For the Knicks, they hired Derek Fisher and went 17-65 in his first season as head coach. Jackson lasted a couple more years as GM as New York hovered around the 30-win mark until falling even deeper in the standings. It was only until last season that the Knicks made some progress but even Kerr admitted that he would’ve been “gone in two years.” Yeah, he probably would’ve been right.