In what had to be a unanimous decision, the NBA on Tuesday named Warriors interim coach Luke Walton the Western Conference Coach of the Month.
Walton, despite taking over two days into training camp in August, does not get official credit for the team’s record-breaking 19-0 start. The wins and losses go, per NBA rules, to Steve Kerr, who is on medical leave of absence but remains under contract.
The Warriors under Walton have outscored opponents by an average of 15.3 points per game, while also leading the NBA in points per game (115.3), assists per game (29.4), 3-pointers per game (13.2), overall field goal percentage (.491) and 3-point percentage (.431).
Walton becomes the fourth coach in Warriors history to win the award. Kerr won it in January and March of this calendar year.
Don Nelson won the award twice, first with the Run-TMC Warriors in February 1989 and later with the “We Believe” Warriors in April 2007. George Karl earned the honor in March 1987.
The NBA earlier Tuesday issued a statement explaining why the team’s record goes not on Walton’s record but on that of Kerr, stating “the head coach of record is credited with team wins and losses. Steve Kerr remains the head coach of record for the Golden State Warriors and is credited with those results.
“Additionally, any team head coach, interim head coach or acting head coach is eligible to be recognized with league coaching awards. Therefore, Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton is eligible for NBA Coach of the Month.”
Walton, 35, is in his second full season as an NBA coach.