Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and assistant Alvin Gentry went out of their way to credit Mike D’Antoni -- the former Phoenix Suns mentor and architect of the Seven Seconds or Less (SSOL) offense -- for laying the blueprint for the Warriors' NBA championship. Fresh of the franchise’s NBA Finals victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kerr said D’Antoni introduced the concept of playing big men in the center and power forward positions.
"And with the game changing, Mike D'Antoni kind of initiating that style in Phoenix, the floor starting to spread, the whole league kind of playing shooting 4s and 5s and playing a little faster, I think Mike and Steve in many ways set the table for Steph Curry. And I think Steph would tell you that, too," Kerr said, explaining the influence of the 2000s Suns on his team.
Gentry, who was recently named head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, also said D'Antoni was “vindicated” by the small-ball style of the Warriors after he failed to propel the Suns and New York Knicks into playoff success. After trailing 2-1 in this year's NBA Finals, the Warriors were able to regain control of the series by inserting Andre Iguodala -- the eventual Finals MVP -- into the starting lineup in place of Andrew Bogut. The move helped the warriors win the franchise's fourth overall championship -- and second since moving to California from Philadelphia in 1962.
Victorious Gentry: "Tell Mike D'Antoni he's vindicated! We just kicked everyone's ass playing the way everybody complained about!"
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) June 17, 2015
Since Game 4, the team paraded a lineup that constantly featured a center listed at 6-foot-8 in Draymond Green.
After pushing the Suns to a Western Conference appearance in 2010, Gentry is expected to implement a faster style with Pelicans, with big man Anthony Davis serving as the fulcrum on both sides of the floor. This would add the Pelicans as another NBA team that will embrace the run-and-gun style that was popularized not only by D’Antoni’s teams but also those of Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson with his stints with the Warriors and Dallas Mavericks.