How Kerr helped Kings' Brown smoothly shift coaching career


Long before Kings coach Mike Brown catapulted Sacramento to third place in the Western Conference standings, he had to take a step back in his career.

Brown, after eight years as a head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers, put his coaching career on pause during the 2015-16 NBA season and returned the following year as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Warriors.

In a recent interview on “The Ariel Helwani Basketball Show” podcast, Brown opened up about transitioning from being a respected head coach who was named the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year to an assistant in the Bay Area.

“I could’ve worked for Steve Kerr forever,” Brown said. “He’s such a fantastic, fantastic human being.

“There was a fantastic opportunity to win. I never really looked at [it being a humbling experience]. The voice [Kerr] gave me with the Warriors was extraordinary. I had a strong voice there, and my opinion mattered.”

Brown primarily coordinated the Warriors’ defense as Kerr’s top assistant for six seasons. The Warriors won three NBA titles in that stretch, including last summer when they defeated the Boston Celtics in six games in the 2022 NBA Finals.

“I learned a lot from Steve, especially with him being a younger coach,” Brown said. “Over time, you start to say OK, well, if I’m in this situation, I’d probably do it a little different, and you want to do it a little different, but you’ve got to remember your place, so you’ve got to ease back, push yourself back a little bit.

"In terms of it being humbling, I never experienced that. I really, really enjoyed being around and learning from and working with Steve as well as everybody else.

The word “culture” is often brought up when discussing Brown’s turnaround with the Kings this season. Right from the start, Brown preached accountability to his players while taking an interest in their personal lives. It's easy to see he cares about his team.

Brown trusted the wins would follow. And they certainly did.

RELATED: When Kings could clinch first playoff berth in 16 years

“Being around Steve Kerr for the six years that I was and listening to him message to his group every single day and add to the strength of the culture that was already there, was an unbelievable experience for me,” Brown said.

“I truly valued the makeup of what it means to have a strong culture.”

Riding behind Brown’s strong leadership, the Kings are just days away from securing their first playoff berth in 16 years. The magic number stands at three heading into Sacramento’s tilt against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at Golden 1 Center.

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