Steve Kerr gets brutally honest about Kevin Durant’s ‘exhausting’ final season with Warriors
The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty run from a few years back now feels like a lifetime away. So much has happened from then until now that at this point, it’s hard to imagine that it was just two years ago when the Warriors made their last appearance in the NBA Finals.
Dubs head coach Steve Kerr recently sat down with Sam Amick of The Athletic as he opened up about the difficulties of the Warriors’ title runs. They went to the NBA Finals for five straight years and towards the end—during Kevin Durant’s final season with the squad—morale was just at an all-time low:
“I think the fifth year was so difficult—physically, spiritually, emotionally—but mainly because it’s just hard,” Kerr said. “And you can ask anybody from the Lakers and the Celtics in the 80s. You know, (ask) Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich. When you do something year after year after year, it just gets to be (hard).”
What Kerr is trying to say here is that the Warriors were just burned out. As great as they were, this three-time NBA champions squad still had their limits—and they had reached it in that final year.
Kerr made it abundantly clear, however, that it wasn’t all about KD. Durant did have that infamous on-court bust-up with Draymond Green which many believe was the beginning of the end for the Warriors. In Kerr’s mind, though, he believes that that fifth-year slump was inevitable:
“And there’s a different sense of energy from, say, the first year to the fifth that was going to be there regardless of our personnel,” Kerr continued. “I think we were exhausted organizationally. I think the players were exhausted. We lost two guys to devastating injuries in the (2019) Finals (Thompson and Durant). You almost can’t write a script like that, you know? And it was so brutal. But like I said, when you do something for that long, such a competitive emotional level—five years, and teams trying to knock you off and building their team to beat you, it’s exhausting. And I think we were all just exhausted.”
Steve Kerr used the word “exhausted” way too much in his statement here. This speaks volumes of just how much gas the Warriors had left at that point in time.
The good news for Kerr and the Dubs is that they have now gotten over that major hurdle. Just two years later and Golden State is already contending for a title again. This is a clear testament to the resiliency of this team and of course, a nod to the greatness of Steve Kerr as a coach.