Mike Woodson was fired as coach of the New York Knicks on Monday. Many are expecting Steve Kerr, a leading candidate to replace Woodson, to take the Knicks’ coaching job if offered. Kerr has become a hot commodity because of his knowledge and experience. His resume appears to be very strong as well:
- Five championship rings
- 15 years of playing experience in the NBA
- Played under two of the best coaches in history of the NBA, Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson
- Former general manager of the Phoenix Suns
Even though he has never coached in any level, the recent success of Mark Jackson, Doc Rivers and Jason Kidd led NBA teams to hire more former players with no coaching experience. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be successful as a coach in the NBA. Kerr is a very smart basketball mind. He’s seen every team play working as a general manager for the Suns for three years and as a broadcast analyst for TNT. He possesses many traits that NBA teams want as their head coach.
As I said before, many expect Kerr to accept the Knicks’ coaching job if offered. If you’re Kerr, why should you accept? So you can coach a bad team under a lot of pressure? No matter how good of a coach you are, it is the players who play the game. Talent outweighs coaching in basketball, especially in the NBA. The Knicks are so cap-strapped that they won’t be able to sign any key free agents until after next season, which means they probably won’t be that much better next season.
The scrutiny is going to be on Kerr as soon as he accepts the Knicks’ job because of a couple reasons. First, people will think he got the job just because of his relationship with Jackson. Second, it will be very easy for fans to criticize him because of his lack of coaching experience. Can you imagine what will happen to him if the Knicks don’t make the playoffs next year?
What Kerr should do is to wait until the playoffs are done. There could be a lot of job openings after the playoffs. If the Oklahoma City Thunder lose in the first, or even the second round, the Thunder might let go of Scott Brooks. The same could happen to Kevin McHale of the Houston Rockets and Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors. If you’re Kerr, wouldn’t you want to coach teams that have much more talent than the Knicks?
I know coaching a historic team like the Knicks is a big deal, but it would be smarter to go for more talented teams as a rookie coach. There is no downside to waiting until the playoffs are done. The Knicks are not in a hurry to find a new coach. If they really want Kerr, they are probably willing to wait for him.