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May 27, 2019

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California

Q. How are you feeling about knowing your opponent now for The Finals?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it allows us now to get into high gear and really prepare. So coaches met yesterday, players had the day off, coaches met, put the game plan together, presented it this morning and had a good practice, so it feels, now it feels real. It feels like we're right there and everybody's excited.

Q. What is the difference in knowing it? Do you run a scout team this time or do you, how do you, what is it different when you know the opponent versus when you're figuring it out and going through the days without knowing?
STEVE KERR: You can't put a game plan together if you don't have an opponent. You have to decide -- so when you don't have the opponent you're going through your own rituals. And as soon as you have the opponent now you have individual player tendencies, you have team actions that they run that you're going to have to deal with, trends, all those things that go into a playoff series.

Q. Has it been decided about Kevin yet?
STEVE KERR: It hasn't been decided yet.

Q. (No microphone.)
STEVE KERR: Not with the team. If he did anything on the court, it would have been pretty light. I know he's been out kind of shooting some shots, but I haven't talked to Rick today so I'm not exactly sure what he's done today.

Q. What kind of progress has DeMarcus made in these scrimmages?
STEVE KERR: DeMarcus is making good progress. The timing of this whole thing is so tricky because he misses two months, it always takes big guys longer to find their rhythm, the speed of the game is so fast. If this were the regular season this would be simple, put him back in the starting lineup and give him his minutes and let him work his way back in, find his rhythm and it would be an easy one. But we're going into Game 1 of the Finals. So he's scrimmaged twice he's working on his conditioning, the good news is his body feels good, his quad feels good, but he's working his way back into shape and into rhythm. So this is not a simple dynamic for him and I feel bad for him. This is one of the reasons he came to this team was to play in the Playoffs and hopefully go to The Finals and here we are and he's just coming back with Game 1 just a few days away. It's not an easy position to be in.

Q. Will it come down to DeMarcus conditioning or is there more to it than that? Just his how he's feeling for Game 1 or what?
STEVE KERR: Well there's all kinds of factors. How is his conditioning, but also what the are the matchups look like, what are we trying to accomplish. So we'll continue to assess all that over the coming days and we'll decide what we're going to do, obviously by Thursday night.

Q. Is it almost too much to ask from him to ramp it up to that high of a level for The Finals after being off this much time and coming back from this type of injury? He obviously wants to play and you want him to play, but it's a lot to ask?
STEVE KERR: It's a lot to ask, yup. So because as I said, that's what he's dealing with and we're trying to help him along through the process and we'll see where it all goes.

Q. Do you expect Rick to give you some parameters on the minutes for those guys?
STEVE KERR: I haven't even talked to Rick about that yet. We'll get there. We still have a few days until the first game and we'll figure it out.

Q. Would it be fair to call him like possible or?
STEVE KERR: What's that? To call him what?

Q. Questionable? Possible?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I think questionable is probably.

Q. KD?
STEVE KERR: KD's not playing Game 1. I think we already announced that. We'll see where it goes from here. This is where the fact that there's a lot of days in between games during The Finals helps us, so we'll see.

Q. What's your impression of Kawhi Leonard, how much he's improved as an offensive player in recent years?
STEVE KERR: Well he was already pretty damn good. Finals MVP in 2014, I think. So he had become a full fledged superstar five years ago. So he's been a great player for a long time, he's clearly one of the very best players in the NBA and he's playing an incredibly high level now.

Q. How bizarre is it right now to prepare for a team other than Cleveland? I mean obviously in the past four years this stage of the Playoffs has been with the Cavaliers. How different is it for you guys as a coaching staff to prepare for a team other than the Cavaliers?
STEVE KERR: Well it's different. On the other hand, that was the exception. This is more the rule. When you play you go deep in The Finals -- or into the Playoffs and into The Finals, you're not supposed to play the same team every year. So that was a special era, a special rivalry and we're thrilled to be back and obviously Cleveland has moved on and their team has broken up and with LeBron leaving the East, things were wide open and it was a hell of a ride through that East Playoffs for Philly, Boston, Milwaukee, Toronto, all great teams, quality of play was something to watch and Toronto obviously emerged as the best team of the East and well deserved. The scene the other night was amazing to watch, too. The fans in Toronto have been amazing over the years. I've compared that arena to Oracle many times. When I was in broadcasting both the Raptors and the Warriors were really bad and yet every time I went to either arena there was this organic energy that felt so much alike, so similar. And there's just a genuine love for the game in both regions. And so I think it's fitting that you're getting a Finals series in two hot beds of basketball. Toronto is generating a lot of young talent, a lot of great young players, the game in Canada is growing by leaps and bounds. So it's great for the game, but we got a hell of an opponent and we got a hell of a challenge ahead of us.

Q. The first time you guys are starting a Finals series on the road. Obviously your team's focus level over the last two, over the last two rounds kind of improved on the road. How do you feel about that going into it?
STEVE KERR: I think we have always been good on the road. But starting on the road presents a different challenge. There's a different rhythm to the series. It helps having gone through this last year against Houston where we started on the road and split the first two games and had to win a Game 7 on the road. So this group has done this before and we're obviously playing against a great team in front of a great crowd, so it's a different challenge, different routine, but we're up for it and ready for it.

Q. Shaun takes a lot of pride in watching some of these young guys come off the bench and contribute because he's been there and also helped guide these guys to know how to stay ready with his example. Do you appreciate what he's done in that kind of a role?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, Shaun's been the elder statesman the last couple years. We have had guys who have played that role. Andre does a great job with that. David West and Zaza the last couple years were fantastic. Every team needs kind of a pecking order and a mentoring system and it has to be organic, it can't, you can't assign guys. They have to feel it. And Shaun knows he's in the twilight of his career and he wants these young guys to have great careers and experience what he's experienced. So he's been fantastic both on and off the court for us all year.

Q. (No microphone.)
STEVE KERR: Steph's just unselfish and all about the team, and I'm sure he would love to win Finals MVP, but he's much more about the team than he is about the individual. He's proven that over and over again. And he's been amazing throughout the Playoffs and we'll just keep counting on him and relying on him and we're lucky to be able to do so.

Q. Following up on that. You guys obviously don't play for individual awards and you mentioned Steph's mindset, but what would it mean for you guys, if the stars were to align and he were to win Finals MVP?
STEVE KERR: Not talking about that. We're trying to win the damn series. So we're not talking about any awards, we just want to win four games.

Q. You mentioned Toronto's young talent. Talk about Siakam and it seems like VanVleet hasn't missed a shot the last three or four games.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, they're good. Siakam looks like a young Draymond to me, the way he plays the all around game, two-way player. Big guy who can handle the ball in transition, good passer, can make threes. So, he's an excellent player.

And then yeah, VanVleet just completely turned things around for himself by having a baby, apparently. So hopefully he doesn't have any more children during The Finals.


Q. (Question about seeing Pat McCaw.)
STEVE KERR: It will be great to see Patrick. Look forward to seeing him and saying hello. And I don't think there will be any ring presentation for Patrick during The Finals, I'm not sure if he's gotten his ring or not, but this is the first time we have seen him because of the circumstances, so because he was not with Toronto when they came here, so I don't know how that's going to work out.

Q. You guys have been through plenty of loud atmospheres before in the past, how do you prepare for playing in that kind of atmosphere with that kind of noise that's going to be coming at you?
STEVE KERR: There's no need to do anything extra. It's not like football where you blast the music or blast the crowd noise, basketball is a game played with a lot of noise on the road, especially at a high level, so our guys are used to it and we got a lot of hand signals for our play calls, for our defensive coverage, all that kind of stuff. So not too worried about that.

Q. Are you prepared for Drake coming up and tapping you on the shoulder?
STEVE KERR: I'm not worried about Drake. I called him on his cell phone earlier and --


My daughter's rolling her eyes right now. She's like, dad, no more dad joke, please, so, sorry.

Q. That was really good.
STEVE KERR: Was it? It was out there, you hung it out there for me. No, he's always up there and he's always a character and our guys are always talking trash with him. I don't know, I kind of think it's fun and the NBA kind of embraces the pop culture dynamic of the League and the stars and the celebrities who are out there and we got E-40 ready for them too, so we're in good shape.

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