Steve Kerr used Blackjack to make a point to Draymond Green
Draymond Green hasn’t always been the most receptive to criticism even when it’s constructive. So for Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, the opportunity to always find new ways to teach and make the message clear without being degrading has become a goal of his from last season going into this year.
Kit Rachlis of The California Sunday Magazine sat down with both Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr to discuss coaching in the past versus today, and how to guide the right words into giving players good advice.
Kerr “I think that’s dead-on. One of the things that I learned from Phil was how important it was being funny watching game film, editing stuff in from movies. Nobody I had ever played for had ever done that, and, to me, that was such an effective way of getting a message across. When you could tie together the point you’re trying to make on the basketball floor with a humorous message coming from a movie — when the message is clear and it carries over to what you’re trying to teach — you’re not having to either kiss up to the player or criticize them. You’re just telling them something, but you’re using humor. I thought that was part of Phil’s genius, and it’s something that we try to employ all the time. It’s a lot easier to do now, too, because you’ve got modern technology, and three or four people are in the video room. Phil, you did that yourself, didn’t you?”
Jackson ”Yep. I did.”
Kerr ”I’ll give you an example. Last year, we came down on a two-on-one, and Draymond Green had the ball. Steph Curry runs to the 3-point line. Draymond has a dunk if he wants it, because the defender runs to Steph, but Draymond passes up a dunk and throws it to Steph, and Steph misses the 3-pointer. I’m looking at my coaches like, “What the hell are we doing? Just please take the 2-pointer.” So what are my options to tell Draymond? How are we going to do this creatively? What we decided on the next day at practice was to show a video on playing blackjack. It was about splitting 10s, and the audio says, “Never, ever split 10s. Why would you ever give up a winning hand just to try to get two better ones?””
Kerr understands that he possesses a lot of heavily-opinionated minds on his roster, so his approach to giving advice always has to be a notch above as to never disrupt the chemistry like in the past.