Luke Walton Wins NBA Coach Of The Month Award, Despite 0-0 Record
Because it makes, um, perfect sense? After confirming its stance earlier today that Steve Kerr is the coach of record for the Golden State Warriors, and therefore the rightful owner of their 19-0 record, the NBA announced that Golden State interim head coach Luke Walton has won its Coach of the Month award for the Western Conference.
Cleveland's David Blatt won the Eastern Conference award.
Kerr is the winningest coach in NBA history, and by a wide margin. After 101 games he's 86-15, for an absurd .851 winning percentage. Of course 19 of those wins have come from the comfort of his Simmons Beauty Rest recliner, as, recovering from two back surgeries, he's watching interim head coach Walton manage games and practices this season.
The NBA clarified their rule today -- announcing that the Warriors' 19-0 start indeed officially goes on Kerr's coaching record. NBA statement:
The head coach of record is credited with team wins and losses. Steve Kerr remains the head coach of record for the Golden State Warriors and is credited with those results. Additionally, any team head coach, interim head coach or acting head coach is eligible to be recognized with league coaching awards. Therefore, Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton is eligible for NBA Coach of the Month.
The NBA's reasoning here is that Kerr designed the system that the Warriors have employed so far -- and in fact he's even been at some practices and continues to direct the team from behind the scenes. USA Today:
"We're talking normally a couple times a day now," Walton said of Kerr, who is still unsure when he’ll return. "And if it’s a home game, we talk at halftime, we talk pregame, we talk at shootarounds. It’s getting more and more."
Said Warriors general manager Bob Myers of Kerr and Walton: "They have equity in the relationship. They knew each other before, there’s the whole (University of) Arizona mafia deal (both men played there). So I think it’s a bonus, but a very important bonus, that they interact in a very healthy way."
But when it comes to game decisions and hands-on participation in practice, Walton is the guy getting it done. Deciding how long to rest Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter on Monday night vs. the Jazz was Walton's decision, and he played it just right. And Kerr would be the first to admit that, we're assuming.
Warriors interim coach Luke Walton was named West Coach of the Month. However, the NBA credited Steve Kerr with Golden State's 19-0 record.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) December 1, 2015
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