Steve Kerr is the most underrated career in NBA history. He won 8 championships, played for the three-peat Bulls, and coached the Warriors dynasty. Kerr has been a part of some of the biggest moments in NBA history.
Steve Kerr was the first NBA player to have 8 championships, played for the three-peat Bulls, and coached the Warriors dynasty. He is one of the most underrated careers in NBA history.
We think of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Bill Russell, and others when we hear the term legend. Does the name Steve Kerr come to mind when we think of the term legend? Looking back on his career, Kerr has remained one of the NBA’s most underappreciated luminaries.
Kerr has had one of the greatest and longest basketball careers in history, from playing to coaching. As a player, he was a five-time champion, and as a head coach of the Golden State Warriors, he is a three-time winner. Try to convince us that he isn’t a legend based on his track record.
In 1993, he played with a young Shaq.
Hoops during a timeout
Kerr was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft in 1988. In 1989, he was moved to the Cavaliers, where he played for three seasons. During the 1992-1993 season, he was acquired by the Orlando Magic on a deadline. When he was acquired, he joined a Magic team that was fighting for a playoff berth, with Shaquille O’Neal, the previous No. 1 overall selection, in his rookie season.
With a 41-41 record, the Magic finished.500 and barely missed qualifying for the playoffs. O’Neal was awarded Rookie of the Year after averaging 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks. Kerr has shared the court with a slew of superstars during his career. Who’d have guessed that Shaq would be only the top of the iceberg?
With the Bulls and Michael Jordan, he is three-peated.
Kerr signed with the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 1993, the first year without Michael Jordan, who had retired due to his father’s death. Kerr not only helped the Bulls reach the playoffs that season, but he also played a key part in Jordan’s comeback the following year. The squad, however, was unable to progress to the Finals.
When Jordan returned full-time, the Bulls established an NBA record of 72-10 and won the 1996 NBA Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics. Then, in 1997, he was a crucial player in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, when he made the game-winning three-point shot. Then, in the final seconds of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Kerr missed a three-pointer, gathered his rebounds, and passed to Jordan, who scored a key three-point play to put the team up 2-0. In the end, the Bulls won their third championship in six games, completing the three-peat.
Won the Three-Point Contest in 1997.
Kerr joined Dale Ellis, Tim Legler, Terry Mills, Sam Perkins, Glen Rice, John Stockton, and Walt Williams during the All-Star break. Ellis was participating in the competition for the sixth time, while Kerr and Glen Rice were both making their fourth participation. Needless to say, Kerr’s seasoned expertise paid off as he won the championship.
Kerr is now tied for sixth place in the Three-Point Contest with Maric Price, Dennis Scott, and Kyle Korver, having hit nine straight three-point attempts. He won the title by making 22 of 30 shots in the Finals.
With the Spurs, he won two more championships.
Credit AFP/Getty Images/James Nielsen
In a sign-and-trade transaction with the Spurs in 1999, Kerr was acquired along with Chuck Person and a first-round selection. With a 4-1 series win against the New York Knicks, the Spurs advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in team history and won their first NBA title. Kerr was the second player in NBA history to win four consecutive championships without being a part of the 1960s Boston Celtics dynasty. Until Patrick McCaw (2019) and Danny Green (2020), Kerr and Frank Saul were the only two players in NBA history to win two titles with two different clubs in successive seasons (2020).
Kerr was dealt to the Trail Blazers in 2001, but was returned to San Antonio in 2002 in exchange for Charles Smith, Amal McCaskill, and Antonio Daniels. Kerr finished his career with 75 games played in his last season. Kerr hit four second-half three-point shots to help the Dallas Mavericks lose Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs then defeated the New Jersey Nets to win their second championship.
Has the highest three-point percentage of any player in league history.
Kerr has the best shooting percentage in NBA history (.454), barely ahead of Seth Curry, yep you read it correctly. Kerr had a lucky decade in the 1990s, as he shot 50% or higher from beyond the arc in five of his ten seasons. Back-to-back championships with the Cavaliers in 1991 and 1992, as well as three consecutive seasons with the Bulls from 1994 to 1996, were among his achievements.
Kerr’s 50 percent shooting percentage in two years without a full-time Michael Jordan should be considered remarkable. Despite the fact that the Bulls had lost their best player of all time, Kerr remained an important part of a team that was contending at the top level. Despite his lifetime average of 1.8 three-pointers, he took advantage of the chance.
Coach of the Year in 2015-2016
(Image courtesy of The Mercury News)
When Kerr took over for the dismissed Mark Jackson in the coaching circle in 2014, there were varied reactions from the league. Most of Jackson’s teammates adored him, but the squad felt it needed a change. Kerr guided the club to a championship in his first season, proving that he made the correct choice. Mike Budenholzer was named Coach of the Year after leading the Hawks to a 60-win season.
Kerr earned COY the following year after guiding the Warriors to the greatest overall record in NBA history. Steph Curry was voted unanimous MVP after the Warriors went 73-9 that season. Kerr’s 72-win Chicago Bulls squad may have lost their place in history, but many feel they are still the best overall team in NBA history.
Golden State made five NBA Finals appearances and won three rings as a result of his leadership.
(Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)
The Golden State Warriors were a dynasty from 2015 to 2019. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green’s development as players made the squad one of the most difficult to beat. The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals five times in a row, winning three times.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the opponents in four of the matchups. Three of the four encounters saw the Warriors trio defeat LeBron, putting a significant dent in the King’s reputation. The Warriors had so much going for them that they were able to persuade Kevin Durant to join the club after they won 73 games in 2016. Many anticipate the Warriors to be back in the NBA Finals discussion this year, with a complete and healthy roster.
Coached the NBA’s second-best team.
Despite the fact that the 2015-2016 squad had a 73-win league record, we will continue to rank them as the second-best team of all time for one key reason. The Warriors were unable to win the NBA title, falling in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry had an incredible year, earning him his second straight MVP award, but the end outcome is what counts.
With that in mind, 73 victories in this league is nothing short of incredible. Only two teams have ever had a season in which they won 70 or more games. The fact that Kerr was connected with each of them is the only consistency between them.
I was a member of the NBA’s greatest team.
The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls are still the best team in NBA history. They not only set an NBA record most victories at the time, but they also won the NBA championship in style. Chicago had a 15-4 playoff record that year, compared to Golden State’s 15-9 record in 2016. Not to add that in the playoffs, Chicago was a perfect 10-0 at home. Only the Los Angeles Lakers of 1986-1987 have ever gone undefeated in a championship playoff run.
Kerr was no slouch either on that squad. During the regular season, he scored 8.4 points per game and shot 51.4 percent from three-point range. In the Finals, he was a crucial reserve who averaged 18.8 minutes per game. Kerr has an impressive NBA career overall. Nobody should be shocked if Kerr gets inducted into the Hall of Fame in the future.
Timeout Hoops deserves credit for the concept.
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