Steve Kerr will wait to talk to former Warrior Leandro Barbosa. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Steve Kerr on former assistant: ‘It was only a matter of time before he would be a head coach’

OAKLAND — Not even Steve Kerr could have imagined how fast Luke Walton — his former protege — would rise through the coaching ranks.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before he would be a head coach,” Kerr said before the Golden State Warriors hosted Walton’s Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. “It happened quicker than I thought and I know that the Lakers were the only team that he would have left here for.”

When Kerr brought Walton onto his staff for the 2014-2015 season, he wasn’t terribly familiar with his new assistant.

“I didn’t know him that well when I hired him,” Kerr said. “But I knew enough about the way he saw the game, the way he played the game and the way all of his teammates and friends felt about him.”

Their Arizona connection played a part in Kerr’s decision to bring Walton on board. Kerr said he’d been a fan of Walton’s playing style all the way back to when he’d watched his future assistant play for the Wildcats.

“It was really a pretty choice and we were lucky to get him when we did,” Kerr said. “I was hoping he’d stay for more than two years, but more power to him.”

—Before the season, Draymond Green spoke publicly (and privately to the Warriors brass) about his plan to rebound from a tumultuous summer. So far, Kerr has been thrilled with the results.

“He’s kept his poise,” Kerr said. “He’s been one of the best players in the league — night in and night out.”

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