Warriors GM Bob Myers and Golden State’s coaching staff are on their way to Napa Wednesday for their annual coaches retreat. One month from now, the Warriors will kick of their preseason schedule. Basketball is really not that far away from returning to Oracle Arena.
This offseason, every storyline has been analyzed up and down, backwards and forwards. Kevin Durant’s recruitment and arrival, how the Warriors will handle the villain role, how much will Klay Thompson’s game be impacted, Draymond Green’s off the court mishaps, Steph Curry skipping the Olympics for rest and relaxation. Warriors headlines never stop.
But a prominent storyline that hasn’t been touched is Steve Kerr’s health. Kerr abruptly left Warriors training camp last October and missed 43 games last season after severe complications arose from back surgery. Under the direction of Luke Walton, the Warriors went 39-4 without Kerr — the latter still wound up winning the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award.
Myers told Murph and Mac on Wednesday, Kerr is still dealing with some issues in his back.
“I think he’s better than he was last year at this time, but he’s not completely better,” Myers said. “He’s on the mend. I think we’re still waiting for the day when he’s 100 percent. He’s in a better place, and he’s dealing with it the best he can. He’s on the path to recovery, to be honest. I think he’s trending in the right direction. I will celebrate the day when it’s completely 100 percent and he feels like he did before.
“So I think it’s better than what you saw last year, as far as his health, but it’s still a process for him.”
Here’s what Kerr said about the spinal fluid leak last October.
“Unfortunately, it’s not like a sprained ankle, one to two weeks,” Kerr said. “There’s no telling. It’s a little bit open-ended, but everyone’s confident I’m going to be fine. That’s where I am. I’m not going to be put a timetable on when I’m going to come back.”
This isn’t earth-shattering bad news for the Warriors, but it’s certainly news that can’t be ignored. Walton is now coaching the Lakers meaning if Kerr is forced to miss some time, he’ll have to choose between new assistant coach Mike Brown or Jarron Collins to steer the ship in his absence. More significantly, the Warriors need Kerr healthy for the regular season opener Oct. 25 against the Spurs. Substitution patterns will be trickier than they seem. Even with Durant, the Warriors need their mastermind coach to line the chess pieces up in the right positions.
“Even though we are happy with the offseason, I do think we are going to have some turbulence,” Myers said.
As far as the overall state of the Warriors, Myers said the retreat will focus a little bit on how to counter all the noise that will surround the franchise from October to June.
“The other thing is, I think the scrutiny on the team is going to be so high, that any loss, anything that happens in a negative way,” Myers said, “is going to be exaggerated.”
The Warriors went 34-5 in the regular season with Kerr in 2016, but 15-9 in the playoffs.