Golden State Warriors head Steve Kerr says his players have earned the right to influence whether they rest or chase the NBA record for regular season wins in the closing stages of the campaign.
The Warriors moved to 64-7 after defeating the L.A. Clippers 114-98 at Oracle Arena on Wednesday and with 11 games to go, the record is becoming more achievable.
With the playoffs fast approaching, Kerr knows what the team's priorities are and doesn't want to compromise health in order to chase the record, but he is also aware that his players are keen to achieve it and is prepared to let them have a say in the matter because of the position they have put themselves in.
"It's the players who are setting a record," Kerr told reporters on Wednesday before the Warriors played the Clippers. "It's not the organization. It's the players who are doing it. So they will absolutely have some say in matters down the stretch in terms of how we approach everything. But again, we could lose the next couple games, and all that's thrown out the window.
"I know they want to get it. So we'll act accordingly. If the players want to go and they're fine physically, we'll probably play them."
The Dubs need 9 wins from their remaining 11 games to break the 72-win record set by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in 1995-96. Kerr, who was part of that Bulls team, acknowledged that the record is "enticing", but places more importance on securing the number one seed ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.
Both franchises are undefeated at home and if they were to meet in the Western Conference finals, the team with home-court advantage is likely to have the edge in that encounter. For much of the year, Kerr had refused to address the question of whether his team could win 73 games, but he admitted it is something now worth discussing.
“I think it’s a good question now," Kerr said when asked about it by Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group, via ESPN. "It was a good question then [when Kawakami asked months ago]; it just wasn’t anything I was interested in addressing, because it was so early.
“But you’re right now, we’re right there. That's pretty enticing. Fortunately right now, the goal of going for the 1-seed goes hand-in-hand with the record that everyone wants to talk about. So we're able to just keep trying to win."
Despite being fortunate with injuries for the majority of the campaign, the Oakland-based outfit currently has Andre Iguodala and Festus Ezeli hurt and with Steph Curry, Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes missing multiple games with injury during the year, the Warriors head coach was clear in his approach; players will only take to the court if they are healthy.
"Right now we've been really consistent with all of that," he said. "The guys who are hurt are not playing; the guys who are healthy are playing."