What Steve Kerr’s Absence Could Mean For the Golden State Warriors


A couple of weeks ago, news broke that Golden State Warriors‘ head coach, Steve Kerr would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team after complications from his two back surgeries this past summer.

While that came as a concern for the Warriors, Kerr may be out longer than some expected. As reported by ESPN‘s Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Kerr experienced a spinal fluid leak during the first surgery that wasn’t detected until recently.

“I had a spinal fluid leak during the first surgery,” Kerr told the media at Sunday’s practice. “It’s very rare, it does happen occasionally, but it happens when there’s an accidental nick of the dura that surrounds the spinal cord. But I lost spinal fluid, took about a month to figure out what was going on, a lot of headaches, some other symptoms.”

While this news doesn’t make Kerr’s timetable to return any longer than originally expected, it does seem to be more worrisome than the original report of his absence. That leaves us with the question: How will Kerr’s absence affect the Warriors?

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The answer to that question can’t easily be known until regular season play starts (assuming Kerr misses some games). If Kerr isn’t back in time to start the regular season, it is bound to have some impact, but with the experience of this team it is likely to not be noticeable.

While the team is a relatively younger group, most players that are set to make the final roster cuts have at least a few years of experience. If this was Kerr’s first season as coach, you could expect a disruption in the learning process of a new playbook. With nearly everyone from last year’s championship team returning, the team is likely to not miss a beat.

The Warriors have already played their first three preseason exhibition games under interim head coach, Luke Walton. The first game they played at the SAP Center in San Jose saw the Warriors handle the Toronto Raptors 95-87. Their second preseason game was a mini show put on by last year’s MVP, Stephen Curry. He tallied 30 points on six three-pointers in a 118-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. In their latest tune up game, the Warriors again fell, this time to the Denver Nuggets 114-103.

Although the Warriors stand just 1-2 in the  preseason so far,  both losses have come to teams that have played very well. In Tuesday night’s loss, the Warriors displayed their unselfish style of play that we have become accustomed to, but unfortunately shots just wouldn’t fall, only knocking down 40.2% of them compared to nearly 50% from Denver.

While the record may not show it, the team has shown no signs of losing a step without coach Kerr on the sideline. As far as when the second year coach would return, he would not give a definite answer.

“It’s a matter of your body sort of recalibrating,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s not like a sprained ankle, one to two weeks. 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.”

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