Golden State Warriors

Jim Barnett on Warriors coaching change: “I think they made the right decision, quite frankly”

MJ SK

SK MJ

Apparently Mark Jackson’s problems with communication went further than his relationships with the front office and certain assistant coaches. Jim Barnett went on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show this morning, and made it clear that he was 100% in favor of the Warriors’ coaching change.

“I think they made the right decision, quite frankly, for all the reasons that we’ve been reading about, and anything that I do know about,” he said.

Barnett started with reasons pertaining to what Kerr can potentially bring to the team.

“I think everybody did their homework on him and feels that he can do the job. For one thing, I don’t think he has an enemy in the world. So I think he’s going to be able to relate to people, to young basketball players, to the young players on this team. Of course, they have the kind of character that they’re going to play hard for anyone. I think it’s a sure thing, quite frankly. I don’t have any reservations,” said Barnett, who explained how he thinks Kerr will help the team grow — and in the process he questioned Jackson’s role in the regression of one player in particular.

“Their offense can be improved, without question. Obviously there were a couple things. Communication – you’ve got to get along with the people you work for. Alright? And secondly, was the team going to get any better? Did Harrison Barnes get any better? Did Harrison Barnes regress? How much teaching was there? The big thing that I understood is that Mark Jackson really did not want a strong, strong coaching staff underneath him. And especially a lead assistant. If you don’t want strong people underneath you, there’s a problem right there.”

A more free-flowing offense focused on running and ball movement over halfcourt isolations and post-ups has been cited often as a reason to ditch Jackson, and Kerr’s willingness to add bright, powerful minds to his staff seems like a given. One potential concern with the Warriors’ decision stems from how the players will react to losing Jackson, but Barnett thinks the transition will be seamless.

“The Warriors are very fortunate in the group that they have because they’ve got good chemistry and I expect that chemistry to be just as good with Steve Kerr as it was with Mark Jackson. And quite frankly, it’ll probably be a little bit better because I think it’ll be a little more real.”

I know exactly what Barnett is referring to with that “real” remark. Jackson was always cordial with the media, but I never got the impression that he was ever all that genuine. He undeniably connected with many of his players on several levels, but that’s where the realness ended. Due to a combination of Jackson’s oft-repeated catchphrases and a hesitancy to provide more than the bare minimum in terms of access, Barnett sensed there was a wall between Jackson and anyone who didn’t wear a Golden State uniform during games.

“I don’t want to knock Mark Jackson, either. I will say he and I got along, but we hardly know each other. As far as a personal thing, there’s nothing wrong with our relationship, but it wasn’t the kind of relationship I’ve had with other coaches, quite frankly.

“I never was able to go to a practice. We were banned from practice that way. We weren’t part of the group. I always felt like it was Mark Jackson against the world. It was us against them and he had that kind of philosophy. And therefore, I don’t know Mark Jackson any better today than I knew him three years ago.”

Looking ahead to next season — but moving from the sideline to the announcers’ table — how many games will Barnett call next year?

“I have no idea. You know as much as I do. We’re going to go flexible with it all, see what happens and it’s all going to work out for everyone concerned.”

24 Comments
24 comments
DavidE7
DavidE7

Jim Barnett is the best basketball announcer I have ever heard in my 65 years of being a player and fan.  He made several comments during the season about how to improve the Warrior offense with which I agreed.  I also believe that his comments about Mark Jackson are genuine.  But I have read that the Warrior owner treated Jackson like a "coach-in-training" and, at least at the beginning, imposed his assistant coaches on him.

Jackson should have been given a chance to develop his own staff.  I do not believe that he wanted "weak" assistants, but that he wanted assistants who were in sync with his coaching philosophy, just as Knick GM Phil Jackson wanted a coach who fit his ideas.  It appears that Jackson was isolated from others in the organization, including Barnett, but I continue to blame the owner for the environment that produced that feeling of isolation.  Thus, Barnett could be right that they made the right decision to let Jackson go because the owner is incapable of a personality change, but I doubt that the Warriors will be as productive under Steve Kerr as they were under Mark Jackson.

Von X
Von X

Good Interview!

When you listen to Jim Barnett whether calling a game or interview radio in general, you are listening to a formidable Basketball IQ at its best!  The Bay Area is lucky to have his talents along with Greg Papa, Monty Poole, Mark Spears, Fitz, or Gary St Jean?

Please indulge on an even further "simplification" of the logic leading to Jackson's release?

1) "A" coaches will look to hire "A" assistants (This head coach wants to be surrounded by equally or more intelligent minds than himself comfortable in his own skin as head coach and open to ideas to assure necessary team/player adjustments that will lead to the best results?)

2) "B" coaches will look to hire "C" assistants (Not very secure at being surrounded by those more savvy than him,.. this head coach will make sure that he's always top dog and has the last say to his subordinate coaches not to mention the GM". or even the team owners???? all the while the team/players underachieve their true potential, by a lack of making even the simplest of  adjustments while entertaining the same mistakes over and over and over again?)

If your coach falls under 'number two'- no pun intended........"At the end of the day?" (Jackson's favorite psycho-repeat line) Somebody's getting fired!

I'm glad J.Barnett is going to continue to broadcast games on a part-time basis!  Hope he's still going to be shooting around at pre-Warrior games (hitting 3pointers in street clothes) on the floor prior to broadcast time?!

JHawaii
JHawaii

Barnes might have not improved much under Jackson but I think it is safe to say D. Green certainly did. With that being said, both should have improved. I am excited about the Kerr hiring. Kerr and M. Jackson have different styles and teach different things from techniques to philosophy to in-game mentality. Hopefully the players absorbed much of what M Jackson gave them, especially the defensive and overall passion and intensity. Now Kerr can come in and teach his style, techniques and philosophies. The Warriors have some intelligent players. If they can learn from Kerr and his new assistants, while retaining what they learned from Jackson, they will only get better.

The thing that might excites me the most about the Kerr hiring is the new assistant coaches, even though he has not hired them yet. Assistant coaches are way more valuable to a team then the casual NBA fan might think. Those guys spend their whole days eating,sleeping and coaching basketball. They are the ones who do the 1 on 1 sessions with the players. They are the ones who break down tape and go over that tape with the players, often 1 on 1. Lets be honest, M.Jackson did not get the best out of his coaching staff for whatever reason. It is rare you hear about turmoil amungst the head coach and the assistant coaches. As a die hard Warrior fan, it is something I have heard about and read about so many times this season. It was dysfunctional, which had to have a negative effect on the game preparation, practices, games and in the locker room. From all accounts, S Kerr is a nice guy and people around the league, from players to coaches to management, all seem to like him and work well with him. It seems, from the surface, that he has the ability to bring together a very talented and qualified coaching staff. If he can do that, it will benefit the team.

I think Kerr has a chance to be a great hire. A Jeff Hornecek type hire. If that is the case, it will be another successful move by Golden State ownership. It will be another example of the genius that is Jerry West. If J. West is good with the hire, I am good with the hire. Who am I to question the man who built the"Showtime Lakers". He is the guy who drafted kobe and traded for Shaq on built those LA title teams. J. West is also the guy who went to Memphis and turned the Grizzlies from a team that never finished above .500 to a team that never misses the playoffs. Joe Lacobs smartest move was offering J. West minority ownership with the Warriors. Ever since J. West came to town, the Dubs have been drafting good players, making smart trades and signing good free agents. Oh, they have been winning too. These smart moves and winning basketball is not an accident. It is because J. West and ownership are making smart moves. I expect this move to be another good move by Ownership/Management


Eric
Eric

The best coaches build strong staffs...Phil Jackson did, Popovich's staff is excellent, Rick Carslisle, who many feel is one of the best in the game has an assistant for every player. Mark Jackson is a fire and brimstone guy, who doesn't like to delegate, and had some serious deficiencies in his offensive game planning. Harrison Barnes regressed in a big way, and often times the Warrior offense looked like it was trying to be the 1995 Pacers reincarnated (not suited for the Warrior team). Jackson didn't want to make friends, or do anything off the court to sooth the business side. He had the players ear, but in the end he was too stubborn and standoffish and was shown the door.


For perspective, Scott Brooks may still be shown the door (perhaps not now that OKC is back in the finals) because of his prickliness, and "Clogged Toilet" isolation offense. Fortunately he has Durant and Westbrook, so his simple offense and bad substitution patterns get bailed out. The guy won 59 games! He may get canned if they can't beat the Spurs.

I don't think Barnett was piling on, its not his style. When he DOES say something though, he stands behind it and it carries weight. I think Barnett's own status with the team might even make him a little more open about the behind closed doors view of the Jackson situation too. He wants people to move on, realize that this was an unpopular, but justifiable move, and get ready for an even better Warrior team next season.


Go W's!

Spartan Sports Guy
Spartan Sports Guy

If you actually listened to the interview you know that Barnett was simply answering the questions honestly and not "piling on Jackson." He flat out said he preferred to look forward and not bury Jackson, but in offering an optimistic opinion on the Kerr hiring he had to draw comparisons to Jackson.


It was a candid, straight forward assesment from a guy that knows way more about basketball and the Warriors than any of us and I appreciated Barnett's candor.

Slam
Slam

@Spartan Sports Guy It was an assessment from a guy who gets his checks signed by Joe Lacob ... what did you expect him to say ? this is the greatest non-story EVER. Lacob is a tyrant.

marcoamps
marcoamps

I was wondering what JB would say on this issue cuz he knows the Warriors so well. In his spot I think he does owe it to the fans to say something and I appreciate his being honest. He didn't tear into MJ, just clearly stated a few things and I'm sure he didn't want to elaborate more than he did. I wonder if he'll have more to see or just leave his comments as is and move on. I hope for and suspect the latter.

Go dubs 2014-15! Thanks to MJ for bringing them back and leading them to two years of entertaining and successful ball. Remember when teams would just roll through Oracle and expect to win? And a successful road trip? Ha! Two primo road trips in the last few years. Memorable was the no look Jarret Jack to the rookie dreymond in Miami bang! and of course this years roll on the road.  

Beaver
Beaver

Way to go Barnett, now do Fitz.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

Yeah, it's a surprise to see Barnett say that, but at the same time, it's almost like he's piling on. It's almost like everyone who had a little bit of a problem with Jackson is letting it all out now. That's why I kind of blame Greg Papa for that. No one was criticizing Mark Jackson before Greg Papa did, and since Jackson has been fired, some media, are coming out of the woodwork saying how tough Jackson was to work with.

I know this might not totally relate to this but, me and some members from my church attended the Warriors Fellowship Night game where after the game, the Warriors have a coach or a player basically testify and talk about how God has worked in their lives. The past 3 years, Jackson was the speaker and he gave pretty good sermons about how God has worked in his life and how God works in his life as an NBA head coach. Even though I didn't meet Jackson during those events, he seemed like a good guy and a person you wouldn't mind talking to off the court. Yeah, I don't work with him, but there might be too many cooks in the kitchen with the Warriors right now, even with Kerr.

Back to Jackson, it's kind of weird how this season, Jackson went from being a nice guy to being kind of a perceived villain from the media, after the issues with Scalabrine and Erman.

But yeah, I wouldn't have expected this from Barnett though. Hopefully he wasn't influenced by Greg Papa too.

jazynaz
jazynaz

@Otis Byrd III  what?  there are too many situations coming out to think all these people were influenced by papa, or anybody else.  jackson started his own "pile on" by firing two coaches, which of course, became public information, leading to all the other incidences of jackson induced problems.  it's plain to see that his "my way or the highway" overactive ego and stubbornness was divisive, and unacceptable to the FO, which lead to his downfall.  most employers expect some give and take cooperation with their employees, and clearly, jackson did not even pretend to cooperate with his boss, the Warriors ownership.

i've never thought jackson was strictly a nice guy, pastor or not.  he didn't go from being a nice guy to all of a sudden a villain, that's not how people are.  i'm sure his personality issues/insecurities which guided his actions were there all along.  there just weren't issues as large as a public firing of his assistants to bring that info out, until it came out.  with all that's been made public, is it your christian (blind) faith comeraderie(sp) that makes you so skeptical that barnett and others speak the truth?  try not to be paranoid, it can't be good for a persons health!

RMixon
RMixon

Wow! Jim stick to cheering on the Spurs. I was always under the impression that if you didn't have something positive to say, you say nothing. The true mark of a man is not what you say about a man behind his back, but what you are man enough to say to his face. All season long I was amazed at how you denigrated the Warriors in favor of their opponents, and the way you worshipped the Spurs was shameful. I wish the Warriors and Kerr much success, but not by dumping on Mark Jackson. Just move on!

Warriors fan since 1985
Warriors fan since 1985

Jim Barnett has earned the right to speak his mind on this situation. In all my years as a Warriors fan I've never heard him speak poorly of anyone. For him to say what he said about Mark Jackson speaks volumes. I'm sure it's been eating at him seeing some in the media(MTII and Bucher) pushing lies about how Jackson is this saint and implying the Warriors front office is racist. Go Jim!!!! True Warriors fans have your back.

Boberto
Boberto

JB has always struck me as being credible because, despite his fondness for the Warriors, he is first and foremost a fan of the game. He avoids coming off as a homer and is an ambassador for the game because he is teaching fans what there is to appreciate about the finer points in basketball beyond wins and losses - very useful when your team has spent decades losing.

As such, his praise of the Spurs and criticisms of the Warriors, at least to me, has always been about the quality of the play and coaching tinged by fondness or respect rather than rooting for or against a team - and it's not as if he was all doom and gloom and wasn't evenhanded with his praise when the W'a did well. Barnett wasn't exactly alone in praising the creativity and execution of the Spurs and being critical of a less elegant offensive approach the W'a had either, and it's certainly not shameful. As a broadcaster, I don't think JB was exactly hiding his commentary and saying it behind Jackson's back either.

What IS a shame is that there can't be an open discussion about things that other teams do well that might improve the Warriors without being accused of wrong-doing or an enemy of the team - the type of mentality that was at least one of the issues with Jackson perhaps.

Oh, and the irony of a post stating that "if you don't have anything positive to say, don't say it at all" and then going on to trash a guy is great...

PCBrooksie
PCBrooksie

I've met Jim Barnett, and "quite frankly" he's as honest and friendly as they come.  I remember the team shouting, "Just Us!" out of huddles last year.  That bunker mentality got them out of the basement, but now that they are into the light, I think Jackson needed to alter his mantra.  Apparently, he didn't.

whiteman
whiteman

The Dubbs got there White guy. Like everyone else. We're just good for playing Basketball. And that's it.

kreider65
kreider65

@whiteman Right. They hired Mark Jackson just to wait three years to stick it to the black man. If you're looking for racism just look in the mirror.

JByrd
JByrd

...is this another case of people in the media with damaged egos?


TSL
TSL

Seems like there was also tension between Barnett and Jackson.

A little surprised by these remarks.

What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email basg@bayareasportsguy.com

Sign up for our mailing list.



Copyright © 2016 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top