Everyone knows the story by now. Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob and Mark Jackson were unable to agree on a contract extension after the Warriors made it to the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, and throughout the 2013-14 season Jackson’s job security has been in question. Many sources have said Jackson needed to make it to the Conference Finals to keep his job.
After the Warriors lost Game 7 to the Clippers, several players were asked how they feel about Jackson and whether he should return.
The most strident views on the subject came from the team’s lone superstar, Stephen Curry.
What coach has gone through this year has been unlike anything I’ve seen. Just the amount of distractions and the circus that’s been around him and the decisions he’s had to make. I love coach more than anybody. For him to be in a situation where his job is under scrutiny and under question is totally unfair. It would definitely be a shock to me if anything like that were to happen. I’m going to voice my support for coach, you know, you’ve got anybody that asks me all summer. He deserves to be our coach next year and we’re going to come back and build off the momentum we’ve gained in the last three years, and continue to grow as a team. And I want Coach Jackson to be the guy leading us.
Does he think he’s played his last game for Coach Jackson?
I don’t. Obviously we’re not the ones making the decisions. We came into the season thinking that this was a long-term situation, but obviously he’s been asked these questions all year. I don’t think we have, I don’t think most of the guys in the locker room do as well. I think we’re ready to go into training camp next year with Jackson at the helm.
Curry is in a position where he can say whatever he wants about the team’s direction, within reason. Three other players who’ve publicly supported Jackson in the past also spoke up, but were more tempered in their postgame comments.
Andre Iguodala wasn’t about to go as far as Curry when asked about what Lacob and Co. might do.
I’m the new guy in town, just trying to fit in. Trying to make things go smooth as possible, sacrifice myself. I try not to worry about anything outside my control.
However, Iguodala was willing to explain why he and several members of the team connect with their coach on a level rarely seen in the NBA (or any professional league, for that matter).
It’s more than basketball. His presence affects the whole entire team. Just from a respect level, a spiritual level, making every guy a better man. Those are the things you’ll remember looking back on your career. Not only how you grew as a basketball player, but how you grew as a man. It’s a very rare trait in a basketball coach. To most it’s all about wins and losses, but to him it’s really about the effect you can have on somebody and helping him grow and see the bigger picture in life.
It was definitely what coach has built. Guys going to battle. Guys giving max effort. That’s what he preaches every day. You fall in line, everybody. You just fall in line. When you have a great leader, you fall in line. When you have a terrible leader, either you fall in line and follow that bad leadership or you fall out of line in clash. I think he’s been a great leader, so everyone fell in line.
I think I’d do a disservice to say we’re playing for coach, because he was coaching for us. He wasn’t coaching for himself, he was coaching for us. It’s a two-way street.
A day earlier, Jermaine O’Neal said, “”You get the feel that no matter what happens, our coach won’t be our coach next year.” Here’s what he said after Game 7:
We have one of the best coaches in the business, without a doubt. But sometimes the business changes a little bit. You can’t really control as players what happens. We saw it last year, with two coaches getting fired after winning fifty-plus games, record-breaking seasons. Whatever they decide to do, I’m sure they’re going to make the best decision for themselves. As far as the ownership, I know they’re going to continue to be great owners, premiere franchise owners. Whether Mark is here or somewhere else, he’s going to be a fantastic coach. So I think, either way, no matter what happens, both guys are going to come out on top.
Jackson himself has this to say:
I don’t pay attention to it. There’s never been discussions as far as my ownership group and my management team. So I don’t pay attention to it. I work every single day with a passion and a commitment, like it’s my last. I’m trying to be a blessing to people, I’m trying to impact people, and that’s the way I live my life. That’s the way I coach. I don’t get caught up in it. I’m totally confident and have total faith that no matter what, I’m going to be fine, and that’s even if I’m a full-time pastor. It’s going to work out.
Lacob didn’t speak to reporters, so all we have is this statement from Adrian Wojnarowski.
Mark Jackson doesn’t have one GSW front office ally who’ll make a case to ownership to keep him. “He’s on an island,” league source says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 4, 2014
Jackson’s regular season record with the Warriors is 121-109 (.526), 98-66 (.636) over the last two seasons. His teams went 9-10 in three playoff series.
I know we'll never hear it, but I would love to hear Jerrry West's opinion of Mark Jackson and his role in Jackson's firing. I think he has played a major role in this.
There is a pie in the sky scenario where Donald Sterling announces he's not selling and his lawyers are filing a 30 year injunction and appeal and arbitration and jury selection and requesting Judge Ito and and and ...
Then Doc Rivers quits the Clippers, then the Warriors elbow out 8 other teams and pay a King's ransom and get Doc Rivers.
That's such an unlikely outcome, but Rivers is , in my opinion, the best coach in the NBA.
Steve Kerr ? ... No. Who else ? .... nobody.
Ownership does regret they signed Jackson. They gave him a chance and for the most part he was successful. But this wasn't a roster full of scrubs. At least 4 current or past all stars. Name another team that has that. Now you see why coaching experience is so important. Jackson struggled with the coaches peripheral responsibilities. And to this day refuses to admit any wrong doing. He is thin skinned and created a atmosphere of players against management when it didn't need to be. Look at the west teams.
Aldridge and Lillard and role players.
Westbrook and Durant and role players.
Griffin and State Farm guald
Warriors have Igoudola all star, Lee allstar, Curry Allstar, Bogut allstar.
Spurs aging Parker, Duncan, Gianobli
This wasn't all Jackson.
After a successful 2012-13 season & '13 playoffs, management has been pictured in a non-supportive posture in relation to Coach Mark Jackson. Has this been the work of the media or has the ownership for some reason come to regret that it ever hired Coach Mark Jackson? Certainly he has motivated and gained the confidence of his players. With all respect for Bogut what part of the last two seasons has he contributed? Those who know say the Warriors need to go another step in finding players to complement the existing core group of those who have done so well and whom we love so much. This is where respected ownership can step up and do its part!
It's the sportwriters like Wojnarowski that keep up shit. Anytime they describe any black man as ARROGANT in their description, in any field whether sports or not thats where the conspiracy starts. Nothing was said about the 2 fired assistants spying n secretly taping conversations of MJ. Go to Bleacher Reports Warriors where I documented on ARROGANT black sports figures.
If they're really considering a new coach, they better get someone that's better. As far as the current available coaches, there aint much out there. Dont even bother going the college coach or asst NBA coach route, we all seen how that went. They might have to do what the Clippers did & trade a future draft pick to another team for a currently employed coach. As a Warriors fan, I still stuck by this team when they sucked for 20yrs (other than the We Believe team). Now they competitive team that can compete in the West. Do I disagree with some of the coaching decisions Jackson has made? Yes, of course I do, but I respect that his players buy in & there are no "knuckleheads" on the team. To me, to back to back playoff appearances is an accomplishment in itself considering where this team used to be until 3yrs ago.
@BASportsGuy I guess you didn't see Klay Thompson's post-game interview on CSN, because he also said he loves Mark Jackson.
@BASportsGuy where/what are bogut's thoughts?
I have no idea what's going on behind closed doors, but the expectation that this team "should" make it to the conference finals is ludicrous. Jackson has taken a franchise that was pathetically bad for almost 20 years and made them a 50+ win team. Did he make tactical mistakes, sure. But you have a coach that the team absolutely loves and respects. Look at D'Antoni and the Lakers. It's a players league and having a coach that the players respect is critical. Bring in stronger assistants and get stronger at the 4 position. But for God's sake don't fire the guy. Lacob would be a fool.
I dunno if Jackson is the best coach, but he might be the best coach for this team of Warriors. If that's not the team ownership wants, then yeah: maybe they should get a different coach.
If ownership does want a different coach, they'd better already have a short short list, and they'd better have a pretty good scouting report that he wants the job. Otherwise there's a good chance of breaking up team chemistry, and maybe the team itself. After this season's successes, if management and ownership mishandles the situation ("thanks Mark, shut the door behind you, please. Hey, any of you college guys want Mark's old job?") they could end up back in the post-We-Believe years, when things weren't so good.
@cpgrov If you're saying the Warriors roster is better than the Clippers ( Griffin and State Farm guard ), I respectfully yet vehemently disagree.
I would trade rosters in a New York minute.
Exactly how I feel. I don't want to go backwards getting a coach the players don't like. It would be Cohen Era 2.0. "F" the thought of that. I believe with a few moves and #fullsquad we'd be reloaded for next season.
@TheGiantsFan707 I'm in LA so I didn't see any of CSNBA's broadcast last night.
@jacobslide He wasn't in the locker room after Game 7
I get what you're saying but are you really comparing D'Antoni's Lakers though?
That Laker roster is hot garbage. It's practically a D-League team.
@Slam @cpgrov I'm not a fan of the move (mostly I'm not a fan of how the move was handled by ownership), but, for whatever reason, Lacob and Jackson had apparently irreconcilable philosophical differences, and Lacob owns the team, so there you go. And while I think Jackson is a good coach, and did a good job, he's not good enough to keep if you just hate his way of doing things. But, to the extent that we're apportioning blame (a self-evidently ludicrous exercise in the context of a 51-win season by the Golden State Freaking Warriors, but, the stakes are high, so we shouldn't risk underthinking it) the front office has made just as many goofs in personnel decisions as Jackson has on the court, and have largely (but unsurprisingly) gone uncriticized in the local media.
The idea that their roster is better than those of the teams ahead of them doesn't wash; its competitive to be sure, but hardly superior. And it’s too simplistic to just compare Steph and X are better than Team A's X and Y. To take the first example of Portland: (first, I'll ignore that you ignored Wesley Matthews, Nicholas Batum and whichever Lopez plays there and we’ll pretend this is a serious argument) the gap between Steph and Lillard is not huge, but, the gap between Aldridge and any other Warrior player is sorta Snake River Canyon-y. Aldridge is an MVP candidate and every Warrior you mentioned is no longer the player they were when they were an All-Star, with the possible exception of Lee…and he plays the same position as Aldridge and is nowhere near as good at it (and I love Lee, he’s just not Aldridge and he’s not been nearly as valuable as he was last year when he was consistently hitting that elbow jumper).
The other teams you mention as only being 2 guys and pile a of flotsam are either proof that you have no clue about basketball, or are Kevin McHale (or possibly both of these things are true), because, seriously you failed to mention the Rockets? The Rockets are 3 guys and a bench that is such a pile of wreckage CNN is tracking its movements by the hour…and even it has a better back-up point guard than the Warriors.
Myers an Co. reached a bit on Iguodala thinking he’d be a more effective offensive player than he was; I think they also thought that about Bogut as well. And though it’s certainly possibly under a new HC both of those guys will be used better on the offensive end, I think it’s indisputable they are not going to be the offensive players they were anticipated to be when they were acquired…and Iguodala’s defense and durability are not going to improve as he ages and the Dubs will certainly be underwater on his contract before he plays it out.
They also brought in Speights and Douglas to replace the rebounding/defensive toughness and scoring lost by the departure of Carl Landry and Jarret Jack, which, at the time, must have seemed like a plan so crazy it just might work. I completely understand after the Iguodala signing they were cap-strapped, but, if Lacob was soooo convinced this team was a contender, and is insane in the membrane for winning, then I don’t know, maybe you risk the luxury tax and don’t get outbid for Darren Collison by the Clippers, or you be one who signs Carron Butler or Big Baby Davis for the stretch run.
Look, all-in-all, everyone did a good job, but everyone also made mistakes and miscalculations that resulted in the team being less than a title contender. Jackson is not perfect, but, you can’t say the Clippers are just Paul and Griffin and ignore they had the 6th man award winner, Deandre Jordan (who, when you factor in durability both in terms of games and minutes played, is more valuable than Bogut) JJ Reddick and then they went and got Big Baby and Danny Granger. Their front office made better, more aggressive off-season and in-season acquisitions than the Warriors front office. It wasn’t Jackson’s coaching that left him with no alternative but to play Hilton Armstrong in a playoff game (it was, however, Jackson who called two consecutive isos for him in said playoff game, which, when they worked were basically the coaching equivalent of any Jermaine Crawford shot when he’s hot (NO, GOOD LORD WHAT ARE YOU DOIN—YES, YES!)).
The team, overall played to their talent level over the course of the season (when you factor in injuries maybe a little above), and then overachieved by taking the Clippers to 7; Jackson had something to do with it and so did the front office. But the Warriors were also an obviously flawed team; Jackson had something to do with that too, but so did the front office.
@BASportsGuy oh OK. Yeah he was very adament about his love for Jackson as coach & person. Said he wouldn't be the player he is without him.
@BASportsGuy I meant moreso in general. Seems he was strikingly absent from the entire series. But thought I saw him in pregame huddle
Not comparing rosters. Pointing out that NBA teams have practically zero chance of success when players aren't behind their coach. I also think that many Warriors fans overestimate how good their roster is. Steph is amazing and Klay has really improved. But anyone who thinks they're on the same level as the Spurs or Thunder is deluding themselves. They are not a deep team and it showed. Maybe they have a chance in the series with Bogut but that's still a big maybe in my mind. The Warriors did exactly what they should have done this year, make the playoffs. Demanding anything more was unreasonable. Jackson has to stay.
@jacobslide @BASportsGuy Bogut seems like a pretty stoic guy, keeps his cards close to the vest. I don't think he's handing out a lot of kudos to anyone. Keeps his thoughts to himself.
@BASportsGuy a bit curious, no? or am i reading too much in to it?
@jacobslide He's talked about Jackson a few times this season, but he has made himself pretty scarce since the rib injury.
@MilpitasNinerGuy exactly. The bench is skinnier than Paris Hilton.
Spot on. They caught everyone by surprise with a fantastic season last year and to even make the playoffs this year was not a given for almost all the teams in the west (minus spurs, okc). It's really unfair to judge coach without Bogut this series. And if management does decide to let him go watch the frenzy that follows. Knicks, Fakers and a hand full of teams are gonna make a run for him.