Steve Kerr says league-worst Warriors 'in offseason mode'

Kerr: Warriors are in offseason mode (2:16)

Steve Kerr explains how the Warriors are operating as if it's the offseason by conducting exit meetings and staff evaluations. (2:16)

As the NBA continues to try to find ways to salvage the end of its season as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that his team is operating as if its season is over.

"It feels like the offseason," Kerr said during a video conference call in conjunction with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. "And, in fact, we had a Zoom call, Bob Myers and I got on a Zoom with our players, our whole roster last week. And it was just a chance to check in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players on his contact with the league and the latest news, but it also kind of felt like our annual team exit meeting. Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now."

As other teams in playoff contention try to keep their teams focused on a possible resumption of play, Kerr said that though the Warriors remain in communication with all their players and staffers, the team isn't concerned about a possible resumption, given that Golden State had a league-worst 15-50 record when the season was suspended on March 11.

"The suspension came at an interesting time, and it really made a difference, depending on where your team stood in the standings," Kerr said. "So I've talked to some of my fellow coaches who are coaching teams that are right in the thick of the playoff hunt. They're trying desperately to stay in touch with their team, some of them are even doing group workouts on Zoom with their training staff, and they're trying to find hoops for their players to shoot at where they're able to do so.

"It's different for us because we were down to 17 games, but we were out of the playoffs. It feels like the end of the season for our team. It just does. We don't know anything officially. There's still a chance the league could ask us to come back and play some games, but given what we went through this season, with all the injuries and the tough record, it's been more of the case of we're staying in touch with guys, but everybody is just sort of assuming that this is kind of it. We're not going to be involved much anymore."

Tuesday's call, led by basketball Hall of Famer Jennifer Azzi, included Warriors president and COO Rick Welts, who outlined how he has been trying to stay in contact with his employees since the season stopped. That has included virtual town hall meetings to keep everyone updated.

"My commitment was to communicate with every employee every day. And we do that through kind of an end-of-the-day email," Welts said. "I'm trying to talk to somebody every day who has a unique viewpoint because of the job they have on what they're going through with the pandemic that might relate to our industry, and then I try to share some of their insights with our people. The town halls are very much like this."

The meetings for employees have included Kerr and NBA commissioner Adam Silver as featured guests.

"We have an opportunity to put together all 500 of our employees, and actually the virtual format allows you to get some incredible guests. Steve has been a guest, Adam Silver has been a guest, the two primary owners of the Warriors, Peter Guber and Joe Lacob, can talk directly to our employees," Welts said. "We have a medical component to each one. Our team doctor speaks to questions our employees might have about staying safe or about what they can or should be doing. We had a mental health aspect to it the last time around, where our team clinical psychologist actually spoke to our employees, which to me, we got great feedback on. We have a lot of 20-somethings who are living alone right now, who aren't like Steve or me, when we're home with our families every day and have some space, but are really isolated socially.

"It's kind of the untold story, I think, we focus on the truly medical side of the virus. The mental health side, I think, is increasingly important to address because we as human beings, we were not wired to operate this way. And you can start to see the frustration that people are having in following guidelines as best we can, but we need more than that as human beings."

For Kerr, who has been social distancing with his family at their offseason home in San Diego since the season stopped, the suspension has allowed his coaching staff to reevaluate how they want to approach next season and beyond.

"I think what we've tried to do as a staff is take more time than we've ever had before to really self-reflect, to really examine what we've done, what we'd like to do going forward," Kerr said. "And we're in a pretty unique position because we've come off an incredible five-year run and then this season, where we had the worst record in the NBA and we went through all kinds of injuries and everything else. And so this whole experience, this last six years for us, as a coaching staff, as an organization, we've pretty much seen everything, and yet what I realize now is very rarely have we had the chance to actually sit down and examine everything."

Kerr said the break has been very "productive" for the staff on a lot of levels. The Warriors will have a top pick in the 2020 NBA draft and are scheduled to have their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, all of whom have dealt with injuries in the past year, healthy and ready to go when the 2020-21 season begins.

"It's been really productive for me and for our staff," Kerr said. "I think we've had much deeper conversations amongst the staff to try to come up with better ways to coach our players and better ways to approach next season and really take advantage of the time that we do have."