For all the stupid “Golden State gets no respect/love/credit/easy loan terms” nonsense we have been forced to endure by those who think this stuff matters (may they end up working a road crew in the Andes), we have finally unearthed a genuine injustice, a wrong that should be righted, a shameful lack of credit for work done.
You know what his record is as head coach of the Warriors? 0-0. It doesn’t matter what your eyes have told you, or who you’ve seen in the postgame press conferences, or who has to do the weekly radio show, or how much experience you think he is gaining with every passing game. He has zero games. He’s The Man Who Isn’t There. He is the yeti in a gray suit.
Or, to put this in its proper perspective, he is the human equivalent of the catch in NFL football. You know what it is because you’ve seen it, but you actually don’t get to know for sure until some meat puppet in New York says what it is, based on rules written in Narnia and devised for games played on the moon.
You know who’s 5-0 then? Steve Kerr, who wants to return desperately but has yet to hear a single note of a single National Anthem, and nowhere near close to share of idiotic questions along the "What's it like to not lose?" thread.
Now how is this fair? How is this just? How does this conform to reality with which we are all conversant?
This is the way the NBA decides such matters. Interim coaches are invisible by league fiat, because it makes the bookkeeping easier. All those stray 1-0 and 0-1 and 1-1 and 0-2 records that dot other record books do not mar the NBA’s. And BasketballReference.com, which is more meticulous and does have interim coaches listed, from Ley Heyman with the 1947 Toronto Huskies to the present day, does not list Walton as anything other than a player.
Thus, the Warriors are not only the fifth team in NBA history to start successive seasons 5-0, they are evidently the first to do so with no coach whatsoever – the logical extension, it seems, to hiring a coach who has never coached at any level before.
After all, the records do not lie. Your eyes do. Luke Walton is a hologram.
This must be a difficult blow for Walton, to learn that he still has no resume despite seemingly living in the same three-dimensional space as the rest of us, all of whom are painfully and even revoltingly real. He won’t say so, of course. He likes Kerr, Kerr likes him, and this isn’t their fight anyway.
But reality gets cheated enough, and no matter what the NBA says, Luke Walton is 5-and-freaking-0. At least in the universe in which we all have agreed to reside.
In fairness to the kids at the league, they were reached Thursday and admitted that this is uncharted territory for them. There seems to be no provision for the Kerr-Walton conundrum, and though they have had some casual conversations about this little tear in the time-space continuum, there is still no clear directive or hint of one. But it is fair to suspect that they will have to craft one soon. After all, Kerr’s return is so open-ended that the Russian steppes seem like a walk-in closet by comparison, and if as the latest story speculates that Kerr might not be available until after the All-Star break, Walton could conceivably coach the team to a 52-0 record and get credit for none of it.
Or 40-12. Or for that matter 12-40, though we suspect co-owner Joe Lacob would replace him with radio play-by-play man Tim Roye before the season got so absurdly off the thread.
All we know is, Luke Walton deserves some statistical closure here. It doesn’t, after all, matter that he and Kerr and Lacob and you and I and all the ships at sea will know what they know. If record books can’t reflect such a basic and self-evident truth, then we may as well put them to the best alternative use we can.
To use them to beat the hell out of our friends and acquaintances in violent bar arguments over who the best coach in NBA history who never coached actually was.