Draymond Green: Warriors’ leaders need to ‘step up’ in Kerr’s absence
There isn't much that fazes Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Coach Steve Kerr out indefinitely with an injured back? Not a problem. Green, interim head coach Luke Walton, Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala will just step up and make up for Kerr's absence.
There's no telling how long Kerr will be out — he was at practice the next day, and will reportedly be around the team as much as he physically can — but any time he misses could affect the Warriors, obviously.
Green sees the trap, and knows he and his teammates need to make the necessary adjustments.
“It's like if your boss leaves work, everyone relaxes,” Green told the Contra Costa Times. “It's like a weight off your shoulders. When your boss checks out, it's like, 'Oh, man, what's up, now we can chill.' It's just human nature. So it's a challenge for us to not do that.”
It's a challenge the Warriors are more than capable of overcoming, though. With the tight-knit locker room and the outspokenness of the roster, there is no reason why the team shouldn't be able to hold each other accountable during Kerr's temporary departure.
“That's myself, that's Steph (Curry), that's (Andrew) Bogut, that's Andre (Iguodala), that's us as leaders,” Green said. “If something isn't going right, we have to step up. At the end of the day, Luke can do it and he will do it, but anytime you can get something from another player, it's better. Coach Izzo always had a saying, 'A player-coached team is always better than a coach-coached team.'”
That may be a stretch, given just how good coaches like Kerr are, but the gist is that the Warriors know what they need to do even if Kerr isn't there to guide them.
Warriors star Stephen Curry echoed that sentiment, saying that while the team will certainly miss Kerr, they can't use his absence as an excuse or distraction from their goal: to repeat as champions.
We can't let the level of practice drop,” Curry said. “When Coach Kerr's not here, you can't lose your focus. We're still building. He set a great foundation for us, and obviously if this had happened last preseason, we might have been a little lost … a lot lost. But we've set the foundation for how we play, so we as players have to push ourselves to continue to get better, even in his absence.”
If Kerr is out for an extended period of time, the road ahead will be difficult. But, in the end, if they are able to weather the storm together, when Kerr gets back they'll be that much stronger. That's a scary thought.