When news broke out about the reassignment of former assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, the rumors about Mark Jackson’s future with the Golden State Warriors started swirling.
This has been a hot topic for much of the Warriors’ season, and whether it’s warranted or not, this piece of news added fuel to the fire for people who want Coach Jackson fired.
The face of the franchise, Stephen Curry, has been very vocal about his support for Coach Jackson. Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area with the report:
Curry has consistently expressed unwavering support for Jackson, and has shown no indication of backing off in the face of mounting criticism of the coach.
“We’re two years removed from being a terrible basketball team,” Curry said. “The transformation we’ve had since coach Jackson has been here is obviously evident and it raises the expectations. Yeah, we’ve lost some winnable games and games we shouldn’t have along the way, but that’s part of the growth process. We’re on pace for the best season in 20 years. That’s a sign of good change.
“I support coach 100 percent and understand what he’s done for us. Being in the locker room every single day and just observing from my rookie to year to now what has changed. Most of all of that is a result of him.
“So what people say or criticism he takes, I know he takes it on the chin and keeps moving. It doesn’t waver his confidence at all. That’s what I admire most about him. We’re going to go out and continue to play hard for the rest of this season and into the playoffs, and kind of block that noise out. Because I know everybody in the locker room supports him 100 percent.”
In addition to his support, Curry wants to be consulted on Jackson’s coaching future with the Warriors. Monte Poole again has the report:
If CEO Joe Lacob is considering whether to retain Jackson or perhaps offer him an extension – or consider dismissing him – Stephen Curry would like to be involved in the process.
“I hope they ask, for sure,” Curry says. “And I’d give them my honest opinion. And hopefully that means something.”
“I love coach and everything he’s about. I love playing for him and that’s all that matters to me.
Curry has been the voice of the players, but other people, outside of the organization, have shown appreciation for Jackson’s coaching as well. Klay Thompson’s father, Mychal Thompson, a 13-year NBA veteran, admires Jackson’s coaching and appreciates his praise for Klay’s game.
Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group reports:
Told of the high praise, Thompson said he loved hearing it from Jackson. It’s Jackson whom Mychal Thompson credits for instilling the confidence in his son.
“Mark doesn’t pressure his players,” said Mychal, who played 12 seasons in the NBA. “He allows them to grow. He gives them time to grow and become men themselves.”
Jackson has a very close relationship with his players, and Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN believes that’s partially due to his preaching about faith and religion but also his faith in his players.
But Jackson believes in belief and believes in his guys. Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli all saw substantial roles as rookies. Green shot miserably throughout last season. Jackson reiterated his faith in Green’s game, kept feeding him minutes, and Green came through big for Jackson in the playoffs. The second-rounder has emerged as a valuable defensive player in his second year. Jackson promotes confidence, bragging outright about his players and their capabilities (he has compared Green’s defense to that of LeBron James, for example). His strategy is to raise internal expectations through effusive praise, in hopes that the power of positive thinking shifts the paradigm of a historically awful franchise.
There’s anecdotal evidence that Jackson’s religiosity helps the Warriors. The quite religious Jermaine O’Neal signed a reasonable contract with Golden State. Noted Christian Andre Iguodala built a relationship with Jackson before heading west from Denver. In Iguodala’s introductory news conference, he mentioned getting to know Curry (and Kevin Durant) over chapel sessions at the 2010 world championships.
By all indications, the great majority of Warriors players like how faith intermingles with work.
It appears as if the team, especially Curry, want Coach Jackson to remain as their head coach. Will management listen to their star player and stick with Jackson?
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group comments on this:
Once again, Warriors management has decided not to publicly support Jackson. That trend isn’t lost on a few players who staunchly supports their coach. A few players expressed the dismay at the lack of favor Jackson has despite the success he’s enjoyed the last two seasons. They see that Jackson simply had the final of his year picked up and was not given his extension. They took note when co-owner Joe Lacob told Tim Kawakami he was disappointed and had some concerns about Jackson. And while Jackson has been constantly under attack, they’ve noticed no one has come out to Jackson’s defense.
Now that the Bay is abuzz about this Scalabrine news, and questioning Jackson, management has chosen to stay quiet.
Multiple players have told me they get the sense Jackson could end up leaving – whether it is by Jackson’s choice or management’s.