Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr won his first ever NBA Coach of the Year yesterday to cap off a wonderful campaign for everyone involved with the reigning NBA champions.
There is still work to do, however, as they entertain the Houston Rockets in game five of their first-round playoff series with a 3-1 lead, but no Stephen Curry.
Still, it's been a difficult year for the master tactician as he missed the first 43 games of the regular season to rehabilitate after back surgery. The five-time NBA champion as a player is still dealing with some pain to this day and there were times when he wasn't sure if he could guide the Warriors again.
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"There were moments I didn't know if I would get back at all this season," Kerr said as Golden State prepared for Wednesday's playoff game five against Houston. "I'm really thankful I improved to the point where I could coach. Coaching has actually helped considerably as I've continued to heal. I sort of had to just take a leap of faith. If I was going to wait until I felt great I would have been waiting all season."
"When I came back, I just said, `It's just time, I have to do it,' and fortunately it worked out," Kerr said. "Coaching and the involvement every day helped the process, helped me get better and better as I went. I'm still not all the way there. I still have some pain, but I'm happy I'm with my guys."
Kerr has suffered some trials and tribulations during his life. At just 18-years-old, his father was murdered whilst working in Lebanon and the former point guard was detached from his whole family as he played through college.
However, despite those difficult times, Kerr believes that the last year of his life has been the hardest, and nothing else can even compare.
"This was the hardest year of my life, not even close," said the 50-year-old Kerr, surrounded by his wife and two children. "Incredibly lucky to have this amazing family and all these beautiful people around me."
After leading the Warriors to a regular season record of 73-9, Kerr quite rightly captured the Coach of the Year award. His assistant, Luke Walton, was also recognised for his contributions during Kerr's absence and finished eighth in the voting.
Terry Stotts of the Portland Trailblazers finished second after proving many critics wrong and driving the organisation to the playoffs. Behind Damian Lillard, Portland defied the notion that they would struggle without LaMarcus Aldridge.
Three-time winner Gregg Popovich - who led the San Antonio Spurs to a franchise best record of 67-15 - finished third in the voting.