Andrew Bogut

Jermaine O’Neal: questioning Mark Jackson is “ridiculous” and “extraordinarily unfair”

Jermaine O'Neal Golden State Warriors

In just over half a season, Jermaine O’Neal has made it known that he’ll speak up when he thinks the Warriors aren’t achieving what they should. But regardless of the Warriors’ recent struggles (they’ve gone 7-9 since their 10-game win streak) don’t ask O’Neal to put any blame on head coach Mark Jackson.

“I know there’s been a lot of conversation about coach Jackson. To me, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard,” O’Neal said after Tuesday’s practice.

“Sometimes from the outside looking in, the perception is ‘Is the coach good enough for the team?’ I’ve been around 18 years. I didn’t play with Mark, so my position isn’t coming from that. We didn’t play together. He’s done a fantastic job. It’s extraordinarily unfair to question his will amongst this team. I think it’s totally fair to question the players’ will on this team.”

By will, O’Neal explained that he mostly means sacrifice. In order to get anywhere close to a championship — and O’Neal has repeatedly mentioned that he came to Golden State in hopes of winning his first ring — everyone will need to give up something for the good of the team.

“Can you sacrifice time, shots, whatever it may be to put this team in position? Sacrifice by helping a teammate when he’s going through some tough times? Can you sacrifice some of your personal time, take a teammate to dinner or lunch to make sure things are okay? That’s what it takes. I’ve been on some great teams, but we’ve come up short because we didn’t sacrifice,” said O’Neal.

O’Neal is going to have to sacrifice his body over the next couple days, as it looks like a bad reaction to a cortisone shot will force Andrew Bogut to miss tomorrow’s game in Sacramento and perhaps one or two after that (or even more, depending on how his shoulder responds to rest).

“That’s what we talked about at the end of the break, the first half the season … We talked for a long time after practice that there has to be some type of sacrifice,” said O’Neal, who alluded to “#FullSquad” without actually mentioning the famous hashtag.

“Whatever we got, we’ve got to give, whether it’s one leg, one arm. Because we’re not built to not have everybody and win. We’re just not built that way. As good as Steph Curry is, as good as Klay Thompson, David Lee, we don’t have a LeBron, we don’t have a Kevin Durant that changes the dynamics of the game. We need everybody to do their job.

“If you’re going to examine what this team doesn’t do well, examine the players as much as you examine everything else.”

Warriors practice notes

— I asked O’Neal about the team’s chemistry, since he mentioned it earlier when describing the difficulties that come with making midseason trades. He said the chemistry is great, then he went on to talk about makes great teams so successful. He also gave a pretty nice compliment to Warriors fans.

— Jackson on Festus Ezeli, who’s still in post-surgery rehab mode and doesn’t sound likely to play anytime soon:

“Still making progress. Getting on the floor. Losing H-O-R-S-E games to me every day. But he’s making progress and it’s good to see the transfer from in the weight room to on the court. So he’s on the court. When you’re on the court it’s getting closer and closer. But he has not done anything full speed,” said Jackson, who made it clear that the Warriors aren’t going to encourage Ezeli to make any serious sacrifices from a health standpoint.

“He’s nowhere near playing right now. I’ve played in this league, and I’m going to protect the guys. What you don’t want is to push somebody, make them go on the floor before they’re 100% and all the sudden the season is over with and they’re out for a long period.”

— As mentioned earlier, Bogut is probably not going to play against the Kings. Nothing was stated officially by the Warriors, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll rush him back to face Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Thursday either.

Bogut made it seem like he’s down on his luck in this tweet, but I saw him in a spirited (yet friendly) argument after practice with a team employee who alerted him that his shoes were Nike Dunks, not Air Force Ones. I’m pretty sure the team employee was correct, but Bogut wasn’t convinced.

— Speaking of shoes, people seem to be really interested in Stephen Curry’s Under Armour collection these days. Here’s a look at one of the better looking pairs I’ve seen, yellow with blue laces. I’m pretty sure it’s this version, which isn’t exactly new … but since there are so many colors of this shoe, I can’t remember ever seeing this particular colorway in person.

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