The New York Knicks have made it clear that they want current TNT analyst Steve Kerr to be the 28th coach in franchise history. The only thing that has not been agreed upon is the amount of money that Kerr will be paid, but one thing that is for certain: Kerr will be a great fit as coach of the Knicks.
Many will look at Kerr and say that he will not be a good coach because he does not have any coaching experience at any level. But what most people most fail realize is that Jason Kidd, Doc Rivers nor Marc Jackson had any coaching experience before they were each named head coaches and look at the success they have had. Ironically, all of the above mentioned coaches were TV color analysts except for Kidd who was hired immediately after he retired by the Brooklyn Nets.
There was time in the NBA where in order to become a head coach you had to “pay your dues” by sitting on benches as an assistant before anyone gave you an opportunity to coach. That time is over. There is general consensus that if you are able to bring in a guy who has high basketball intelligence in addition to being a great communicator, they will make it work eventually. Look at the Boston Celtics; they shook the basketball world by hiring Brad Stevens and giving him six-year contract, allowing him to learn and work out the kinks as he adjusts to the NBA with a team that is rebuilding.
When Kerr joins the Knicks, which will presumably be after his TV duties are up, they are getting a winner period. There should also be no questions of Kerr’s basketball acumen. Kerr played collegiately for Lute Olson at Arizona who recently gave Kerr a vote of confidence, telling the NY Post: “I think they’re going to get it turned around, and I think he’ll get it turned around quickly.” After college, Kerr would go on and win five NBA championships playing for Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, who are arguably the two best coaches in NBA history.
Oh, it is also worth mentioning that Kerr also played with Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan. That has to be worth something, right?
Kerr spent some time as the Phoenix Suns general manager and had some success helping build roster that made it to Western Conference Finals and lost to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers. That time working in the Suns’ front office definitely exposed Kerr to another side of the NBA, allowing him to understand what it takes to build a roster in salary cap driven league. The Knicks, who have their own salary cap issues to deal with, would be getting a coach who has experience in the area.
Kerr would also have some comfort knowing that his longtime friend, coach and mentor Phil Jackson is running the show in New York. Because the Eastern Conference is so horrid, Kerr could come in and make the playoffs as a No. 7 or 8 seed with only few modifications to the roster. The Knicks are in the salary cap cellar for one more season, but they do have promising young talent in Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. If Jackson can get Carmelo Anthony to buy in for one more year, the Knicks may have the potential to right the ship sooner rather than later.
All of Kerr’s colleagues have nothing but great things to say about him, often alluding to his intelligence and understanding of the game. Will Kerr be a great coach? Maybe, maybe not, but he sure will have every opportunity to be successful while coaching in the greatest sports city in the country.