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Warriors’ Steve Kerr confident Mike Brown will help Kings snap 16-year historic postseason drought


Photo: Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is sticking up to his belief that former assistant and now head coach Mike Brown can lead the Sacramento Kings back to the postseason prominence.

The Kings have been in the NBA’s peculiar place for 16 years, now having the worst playoff drought across four major American professional sports leagues after the MLB’s Seattle Mariners snapped their over 21-year losing seasons earlier this month.

 But now under the new guidance of Brown, Kerr has nothing but optimism on the franchise’s fortunes moving forward.

“Thrilled for him,” Kerr said about Brown following the Dubs’ 130-125 win over the Kings, in courtesy of Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson. “It’s a great opportunity. A lot of good, young talent in Sacramento. I’ve watched them a few times in preseason and early on, and he’s got them playing hard and playing at a high level. I know they lost two close games so far, but they look good, and I think Mike’s going to do a great job there.”

The Kings indeed features a promising talent spearheaded by De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Keegan Murray, as they even gave a huge scare in front of the Chase Center spectators on Sunday.

Though the Warriors established a gigantic lead and an 89-point first half score card – third-most points in a half in franchise history – the Kings fought their way back until the end. They sparked off a 15-1 blitz down in the fourth and even splitted the Dubs’ margin to four-point lead over a minute remaining. But thanks to Jordan Poole’s free-throws and Andrew Wiggins’ thunderous transition dunk, the defending champs managed to maintain that grip en route to their second win of the season.

“They did a good job getting back into the game, but we won, so I’m looking at the positive,” Kerr said. “We played, at times, brilliantly, and we couldn’t sustain it. It was closer than it should have been, but I give Sacramento a lot of credit.

“Mike is doing a great job with those guys. They are fighting. They’re competing. They’ve had three close losses now to start the year. They’ve gotten a lot better and we let our guard down and they took advantage of it, but we got the win and I’m pleased with that.”

Prior to the match, Golden State conducted a pregame ceremony for Brown and Leandro Barbosa to receive their championship rings – honoring their contributions on the team’s title quest last season.

Brown served as an assistant for Kerr from 2016-2017 to last season, adding up three rings in his assistant coaching résumé.

“Man, starting with (Warriors executive co-chairmen) Joe Lacob, Peter Gruber, Bob Myers and his group, Steve Kerr, and then you factor in Draymond (Green) and Andre (Iguodala) and Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson and Loon (Kevon Looney) and Dot (Shaun Livingston),” Brown said about his six-year experience in the Bay Area. “I learned so much here and they embraced me right away. All I have are fond memories here. It was fantastic. I owe them a lot.

“I thank them for allowing me to be a part of it. I’m more than thrilled to be able to come back here and get a ring in this building at this time of the year. This is fantastic for me.”

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