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June 16, 2015

Steve Kerr


Golden State – 105
Cavaliers – 97

COACH KERR:  Before we begin, I want to say congratulations to Cleveland, to Coach Blatt who did a fantastic job.  You think about the injuries they had two of their top three players going down, and for them to have the season that they had and to get to The Finals and to really compete at the highest level and to have us on the ropes, it's an amazing job.  Obviously LeBron is just an incredible player.  So congrats to the Cavs.
We were fortunate in a lot of ways this year.  Maybe number one was health.  And to win a title there's obviously a lot of work, but a lot of luck as well, and we had a lot of luck on our side this year.  And our guys took advantage of it, and they were fantastic.
But, man, what a night.

Q.  Is it validation of a system that some people thought they couldn't win, or is it having certain special players can overcome any system, basically?
COACH KERR:  Yeah, I know there's been all this talk this year especially about the three‑point shot and can you win shooting it.  There's a lot of different styles that can work.  You have to base it on your own personnel.
But I think what was probably overlooked all year long was that what really wins is the combination of great offense and great defense.  We had the No. 1 defense in the league.  We had the highest scoring team in the league.  We were No. 1 in assists.  We were No. 1 in field goal percentage defense.
When you get that combination, then you're going to be pretty good.  Whether you're shooting threes or twos, it's about the balance.  To win a title, you have to be able to make stops.  You've got to string stops together at crucial times, and you've got to find ways to score.
Our team, because of our depth and our talent, we were able to do that, and it turned into a special season as a result.

Q.  Steve, you pointed out early in the series that Andre Iguodala was your best player.  He won the Most Valuable Player award.  In your opinion, what was it about his play that earned him the Most Valuable Player award?
COACH KERR:  Well, guarding LeBron James has to be the hardest job in basketball.  So after the first three games we decided to start Andre because he was by far doing the best job on LeBron.  But he was also contributing in so many other ways.  Offensively their plan was to take Steph away, take Klay away and force Draymond and Andre to beat them, and Andre did.  He hit three more threes tonight.  25 points.
You could make an argument that it could have gone to Steph, it could have gone to LeBron.  But for us, it's really fitting that the award went to Andre because he sacrificed his starting role from the first game of the season.  He had never come off the bench once in his entire career, and he sacrificed that job to make Harrison better, to make our bench better, and that set the tone for our whole season.  An All‑Star, an Olympian saying, okay, I'll come off the bench.
It set the tone for everything we were able to accomplish, so it feels like full circle to me that Andre received the award.  Couldn't happen to a better person.

Q.  You guys have been very disciplined through each round, not over‑celebrating, making sure you're talking about the big picture‑‑
COACH KERR:  Yeah, not anymore (laughing).

Q.  What was that scene like in the locker room?  Was it kind of just a pent‑up release of emotion?  We can see what it did to you, but what was it like in there?
COACH KERR:  It was chaos.  Pure joy.  The thing about the NBA playoffs, and I've been through this as a player and going all the way to The Finals five times as a player, but it had been 12 years since I'd been there.  My last year with the Spurs.  I almost forgot just how grueling the stretch is.  I mean, two straight months of emotional stress and physical stress.  Just the roller coaster ride that you're on.  There are days when you think, boy, I don't know if this is going to happen.  Then there are days that go better.
As soon as you win a game, you celebrate for a few minutes and your stomach ties up in knots thinking about the next game.
So you go through this for two months.  Yeah, there's a lot of pent‑up energy, and relief more than anything, in that locker room.

Q.  Do you feel the 40 years?  Is that something that dawns on you that this is the end of a 40‑year drought?
COACH KERR:  I can't tell you how many things are going through my mind because I couldn't allow myself to think about anything like that while we were competing.
One of the great scenes for me was standing up on that stage and hearing the "Warriors" chant from, I don't know, 50 yellow‑clad Warriors fans behind us.  I know they were representing Dub Nation.  And there's a lot of people cheering for us.
I remember coming into Oracle as a player year after year, playing against lousy teams and the fans were there every single year.  Loud, supportive, passionate.  So I could not be happier for our fan base because they support us through everything.

Q.  How did you learn to manage a team like this being so young and never being at this stage before, but having their egos checked at the door?  They're sharing the basketball.  You're number one in offense all year long.  And your role players like David Lee, Iguodala and Bogut don't complain about not having their regular minutes.
COACH KERR:  Well, it speaks to the character of the players more than anything.  Bob Myers and his staff have done an incredible job of putting together this roster.  I was well aware of the versatility that the roster had, but as I got to know the players I realized they had what it took spiritually, emotionally.  They were united.  They wanted to win.  They were close.
The last couple years they've been good, but it's just a great group of guys, and they were willing to take the vision that we gave them in the beginning of the season, and we started off really well, which I think helped.  But as I mentioned, Andre's sacrifice, David Lee's sacrifice, their willingness to accept roles and keep pushing really was the key to the whole thing.

Q.  Coach, you listed a bunch of stats earlier about what you ranked first in.  One thing that stands out to me is you ranked first in pace, I think the first team in NBA history to win a title doing that.  Did you ever doubt that you could win playing that way considering this Finals that was really a turning point was increasing that pace and trying to get faster play?
COACH KERR:  I didn't doubt it because watching this team the last couple years, I just felt like a little faster pace could go a long way.  Really, the key was the defense was in place.
Mark Jackson and his staff the last couple years, they really built a defensive juggernaut.  I mean, this group last year I think was third in the NBA in defensive efficiency.
As I said earlier, it's all about balancing the offense and the defense.  You've got to have both in some form or fashion.
I knew the defense was already there, and I felt like if we played faster and we got more possessions our defense would still hold up because of the shooting and the dynamic play of Steph in particular.  It just felt like the combination would work, and Alvin Gentry was really the biggest proponent of the pace and the combination of all that.
We felt like it would work, but I'd be lying to you if I told I felt like we were going to win the NBA title.

Q.  As you're aware, this is one of your ports of call early in your career.  Any significance to winning it here?  I know it's not the same building, but it's obviously the same city.
COACH KERR:  There was significance.  I saw Mark Price the other day in the hallway.  It was great to see Mark.  I've got wonderful memories of Cleveland.  I have family here.  Played here for three and a half years, fantastic fans.  When Cleveland clinched the East, one of my first thoughts was how happy I was for both fan bases, the Warriors and the Cavs.  A lot of years of suffering for both fan bases.
You know, I mentioned it earlier, the injuries they suffered were just too much.  This would have been a different series with Kyrie and Kevin Love.  They had a phenomenal year.  The fans here are so loud, they're so supportive.  And I used to feel that myself.  I've got great memories of those days.

Q.  You guys have had a lot of hate come your way this year, but there's been one refrain, and I think it's every time we turn on, Charles Barkley says jump‑shooting teams can't win championships.  You guys kind of brushed that off.  But did it ever get in there anywhere?  Did you ever want to say anything back?
COACH KERR:  Back to Charles?

Q.  Or anybody who said that.
COACH KERR:  No, I don't worry about that stuff.  The only thing I felt like occasionally pointing out, which I never did, but defense.  Everyone wanted to talk about how many threes we took.  We're the number one defensive team in the league, and that's what wins.  You've got to be able to score points somehow, but you have to be good defensively.  You have to be great defensively to win a title.
For whatever reason, that seemed to be overlooked this year.  But the combination of the offense and the defense, that matters, and I don't think people pointed that out enough.

Q.  Why didn't you point that out?  Why didn't you say anything back to Charles or anybody else?
COACH KERR:  I don't know.  I love Charles.  I mean, guy picked up every bar tab I ever was part of when I was at TNT.  So he can say whatever he wants.  Love Charles.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk about there is no surprise that it's not often, every day a team with a rookie coach wins a championship or a team with no players with NBA Finals experience wins a championship.  You guys just struck both those off the list tonight.  First time in a long time that's happened.  What's that say about people who say you've got to have experience, you've got to learn to lose before you can win?  Clearly that wasn't the case with you or your players.
COACH KERR:  I just think that every year is so different.  A lot is based on match‑ups and injuries and maybe a little good fortune.  We had good fortune with our health most of the year, and that was big.
But somebody has to win, and this was a year where LeBron left Miami, so getting to Cleveland with a brand‑new group, they didn't have the continuity that he had in Miami.  The Spurs go out in the first round.  They're the defending champs.  I thought they were going to be our biggest hurdle.
So things went our way, but we took advantage of that.  Every year that's the case.  A team falls, a team soars, there's injuries, bounce of the ball, whatever.  In the end, none of it matters.  The only thing that matters is that we got the job done.

Q.  Can you compare between the big moment back in Chicago days and your basket to win the championship versus tonight?
COACH KERR:  That was a great night for me as a player.  It's different as a coach because you feel responsible for a lot of people.  Even though you don't take a shot, you don't get a rebound, you feel like you just want people to succeed and you want to help them any way you can.
I'm just thrilled for so many people.  Our players, mostly, but the people in our organization‑‑ Rick Welts, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and the whole group.  It's just a phenomenal group of people.  I think as a coach you just appreciate kind of the big picture a little bit more.

Q.  First of all, congratulations.
COACH KERR:  Thank you.

Q.  It's fascinating how the game evolves.  You've played with Jordan.  You've played with Duncan.  Could you ever imagine someone like a point guard as Stephen Curry being one of the most unguardable players in the league?  How do you think he fits the mold of a transformative player, and how do you think he breaks that mold?
COACH KERR:  I imagined it with Steve Nash.  Steve was kind of the original Steph Curry.  Slightly different, but similar mindset in terms of‑‑ and similar skillset of passing and the ball handling.  And the Suns were so close.  Things didn't go their way.  But I imagined it.  And I was there with Steve as general manager, and I thought it was going to happen for him.  But he set the stage for Steph.
I think Steve kind of laid out a vision for a whole generation of young point guards.  And with the game changing, Mike D'Antoni kind of initiating that style in Phoenix, the floor starting to spread, the whole league kind of playing shooting fours and fives and playing a little faster.
I think Mike and Steve in many ways set the table for Steph Curry.  And I think Steph would tell you that too.  He has great respect for Steve.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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