The Golden State Warriors have run one of basketball's most interesting offenses during Steve Kerr's two seasons as head coach which emphasizes rhythm and flow.
The offense stresses ball movement to create easy, high percentage shots at the three-point line and near the basket.
“You see it on their faces when we start to score and when it starts to become overwhelming, when we’re hitting and rolling on all cylinders," said Shaun Livingston. "It’s just a crushing feeling when you take somebody’s will away, to where they don’t really think they can win, they’re not competing at the same level. That’s kind of a gratifying feeling.”
“I don’t think I’ve made up anything that we do,” Kerr said in an interview with The Chronicle. “I’ve stolen from everybody, but most coaches would tell you the same thing.”
Kerr began collecting video clips of plays he liked when he was a broadcaster and those filtered through what he learned playing for Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, along with working with Mike D'Antoni.
Bob Myers and the Warriors' front office didn't like Mark Jackson's isolation-heavy offense.
“We hired Steve on the heels of the Spurs’ clinic against the Heat (in the 2014 NBA Finals) on how to play basketball,” Myers said. “We felt that was the right way, that kind of ball movement. At the end of the year we looked at our passes per possession on halfcourt, and we were on the low end. Our offense was fine, we were scoring points, but how could we improve? Steve actually brought a better blueprint (to the job interview) than any candidate we could find.”
Kerr said Curry was the key to the offense in lessening his responsibility as a ballhandler and decision-maker.
“That’s the biggest change we made,” Kerr said, “was just getting the ball out of Steph’s hands and having him run off screens. ... I wanted to make the game easier for him and I wanted to utilize his tremendous skills to leverage openings for other guys, and to compromise the defense by having to chase Steph around and having to pay so much attention to him.”
Livingston said the new offense “definitely made Steph better, for sure. ... Now it’s a lot harder to guard him, because he’s constantly moving without the ball and with the ball. With Mark Jackson, Steph was great, and got confidence to be able to play his game, but it was more of an isolation system, which takes a lot of energy. ... Now he can score in a greater variety of ways.”
There are definitely elements of the triangle in the offense but no reset is needed after a fastbreak.
Kerr said his offense isn’t “nearly as uniform as the triangle — it’s more random and we give our players a lot of freedom to move wherever they want.”
The Warriors do have a playbook, on tablet. It consists of four or five main concepts, with five or six plays for each concept. In a typical game of about 100 possessions, Kerr will call a play from the bench 15 to 20 times.