Month: April 2014

San Francisco Giants: Is Pablo Sandoval Pressing?

Apr 21, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Pablo Sandoval has had a lot on his mind recently. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the San Francisco Giants told Sandoval that he had to lose weight and keep it off if he wanted to get consistent playing time in 2014 and possibly get a contract extension. Sandoval took this seriously and lost at least 30 pounds in the offseason.

In addition to his weight loss program, Sandoval had to deal with the weight of a potential contract extension hanging over his head. The Giants and Sandoval weren’t able to come to an agreement on an extension before Opening Day. Sandoval turned down a three-year, $40 million offer, and the conversation between the Giants and Sandoval about a possible extension has stalled.

So far this season, with all this extra “weight” hanging over him, Sandoval is hitting .165 with a .258 OBP, .278 slugging percentage, two home runs, six RBI, and 18 strikeouts in 21 games and 79 at-bats.

For a career .294 hitter, these numbers are extremely baffling and disappointing, especially given his weight loss in the offseason. So what can his poor offensive numbers be attributed to? Is he pressing? Is he hiding an injury? Is he lacking confidence? Are the contract negotiations weighing too heavily on him?

When discussing his recent struggles with Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group, Sandoval insisted that none of these things have affected his performance at the plate this season.

“You got good games, you got bad games, so you have to keep humble and keep your head up,” Sandoval said. “Try to do the best that you can out there, try to do all the things you can do, keep working hard. Good things are going to come.”

Bruce Bochy has employed several different strategies in order to break Sandoval out of this uncharacteristically long slump.

After hitting .171 on the season and going hitless against the San Diego Padres on April 19, Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group that he was going to give Sandoval a day off on the 20th.

“He needs a mental break,” Bochy said. “Tonight I thought he was pressing more than any other game.”

The day off didn’t seem to help Sandoval that much though. On the first day of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies on the 21st, the day after his day off, he struck out once and went hitless in four at-bats. On the 22nd, also against the Rockies, he had one hit (a double) and one walk in three at-bats. On the 23rd, he had no hits, a walk, and one strikeout, in two at-bats.

Bochy also tried dropping him in the lineup. Bochy only dropped him from the third spot to the fourth spot, so it wasn’t a drastic change. However, Bochy was hoping this type of change would ease some pressure off of Sandoval. This didn’t help either.

Apr 3, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Whether Sandoval is pressing at the plate or not, Bochy might have to find some new ways to get the Panda going. One option is dropping him further down in the lineup, maybe down to sixth. For example, Bochy could have a batting order like this: Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Michael Morse, Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Hicks, and the pitcher.

It’s impossible to predict if this would reignite Sandoval offensively, but this sort of a “wake-up call” could perhaps give Sandoval a fresh start.

Another option is to give him two or even three days off in a row, which would give him a mental break and would allow him to re-focus. Bochy has used this strategy in the past with struggling players, and it usually works.

One last option is for Bochy to keep playing Sandoval as he normally would and hope that he will find a way out of it soon by himself. Bochy is a players’ manager. He believes in his players, and he won’t criticize them or punish them for poor play.

The clubhouse has been very loose, despite the struggles of the offense recently (besides yesterday’s win in Colorado). It doesn’t look like any of the Giants, including Sandoval, are pressing, and that’s why Bochy has been patient with them.

There are many benefits to a team with great team chemistry like the Giants, but one of the drawbacks is that if one person starts to struggle, others start to struggle too. This might be Sandoval’s problem. Other Giants such as Gregor Blanco and Posey are in their own slumps right now, so Sandoval might be unintentionally feeding off of that.

There isn’t a clear answer to how Sandoval can break out of this slump, but Bochy has a few options on how to try to wake up Sandoval offensively. Hopefully for the Giant, one of these options will work.

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Golden State Warriors SF Arena: Warriors Purchase Land at Mission Bay for New Arena

Photo courtesy of Warriors.com.

Photo courtesy of Warriors.com.

The Golden State Warriors have ditched their plans at building an arena on Piers 30-32 in San Francisco, and they’ve found a new site for their proposed arena. The Warriors reached a deal with salesforce.com to purchase land in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood, where they will build their sports and entertainment arena.

According to Warriors.com, this new arena will be built on 12 acres of private land and will hold about 18,000 seats. In addition, there are already 9,000 existing parking space at Mission Bay. The lack of ample parking was one of the drawbacks to Piers 30-32.

Another positive aspect of the Mission Bay site is its easy access to public transportation. Mission Bay is located within a few blocks of Caltrain, and it borders Muni’s 3rd Street Light Rail, which provides an easy connection to BART.

Both Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Warriors’ owners, spoke to Warriors.com about Mission Bay.

“We believe Mission Bay is a perfect fit,” said Joe Lacob, Co-Executive Chairman and CEO of the Warriors. “It is a wonderful inland site in a dynamic part of the City that is convenient for fans from all over the Bay Area. We are buying private property, but the city will also get a new 5 ½ – acre waterfront park. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“We’ve said all along we wanted to create a spectacular cultural destination for the City and the entire region,” said Co-Executive Chairman Peter Guber “This is about a shared cultural experience: going to a beautiful and inviting place to see a game, see a show, attend a convention. It will be easily accessible, state of the art, digitally fit, and second to none.”

Rick Welts, the President and COO of the Warriors, also spoke to Warriors.com about what the Warriors learned from their experience with Piers 30-32, and he shared his excitement about the new plans for the arena at Mission Bay.

“We’ve spent the past two years listening. We’ve learned a lot. We’re proud of the plans we’ve put forward to date, and we’re thrilled to announce this great leap forward,” said Rick Welts, President and COO of the Warriors. “We are looking forward to engaging with the neighborhood and, ultimately, making this site ‘Warriors Ground.’ This is our path to San Francisco.”

A state-of-the-art arena on Piers 30-32 would’ve been picturesque and quite a tourist attraction. However, the benefits of an arena at Mission Bay far outweigh the costs.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

At Mission Bay, the Warriors will face less opposition and fewer regulatory barriers. In addition, Lacob and Guber have said that this arena will be entirely privately financed, meaning it will not be funded by taxpayers and will use no public land. This is rare for a sports venue.

Mission Bay is also closer in proximity to public transportation, there’s more parking readily available, and a 5.5-acre bayfront park will be built in addition to the arena, as part of the redevelopment plan for the Mission Bay area.

In a recent article by the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called this new plan for the Warriors’ arena a “catalyst for development in the neighborhood.”

Former Mayor Art Agnos, who was opposed to the Warriors’ proposed arena on Piers 30-32, also showed support for the new plans in the same Chronicle article.

“This is a historic victory for the people of San Francisco because we have protected our precious bay and waterfront, as well as gained a new hometown basketball team,” Agnos said.

A specific groundbreaking date hasn’t been set yet, but the Warriors plan on opening the new arena for the 2018-19 season.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project:

Win 2 FREE Tickets to Warriors-Clippers Game 4 in Oakland with new iPhone App Sparks

Sparks Bay Area - Sparks for iPhone

Sparks Bay Area – Sparks for iPhone

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Bay Area sports fans, we root for some of the best teams in the world, and now there’s a way for us to experience Bay Area sports in a whole new way. I’m excited to share with you Sparks Bay Area Sports, a new, free iPhone app.

This new app gives fans a new way to experience Bay Area Sports. Fans can express and discuss their favorite teams by quickly creating fun, visual “sparks,” text and images, that can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Sparks Bay Area Sports can be used in many different ways. Fans can start a discussion about certain trending topics, similar to talk radio, between games and then can share in the emotional experience with other fans during games.

Personally, I’ve loved using the app as a Sparks Insider. I’ve found that when I create a “spark” and then tweet it out, it gets a lot of interaction on Twitter! I’ve interacted with more fans because of the app, and it ceratinly has sparked some great discussion about my favorite Bay Area sports teams: the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, and the San Francisco 49ers.

A couple of examples of the new free iPhone app Sparks.

A couple of examples of the new free iPhone app Sparks.

I also have found that creating “sparks” is a great way for me to challenge myself creatively. As a very analytical person, I struggle with creativity at times. I’m always open to new challenges, and using “sparks” has allowed me to push myself and find new creative ways to discuss the sports teams that I love the most.

Especially with the Giants season and the Warriors’ playoff run underway, I’ve loved using the app and engaging in more discussion with fans. I’ve seen the endless amount of benefits that the app can bring to a sports’ fan’s life, and I can’t wait for more Bay Area sports fans to use it and experience the great aspects of the app.

Fans can download the app here.

As an added bonus to downloading the app, Sparks is giving away 2 FREE lower level tickets to Game 4 of the Warriors-Clippers series to the user whose spark gets the most retweets this week. You can become eligible to win these two free tickets if you download the app, create awesome sparks while watching the Warriors, and share them to Twitter!

Let’s go Warriors, and let’s start sparking! Check out Sparks for iPhone!

Here are some examples of Sparks that other fans and Bay Area sports personalities, such as Kate T. Scott from KNBR, Dave Flemming from the Giants, and NBA journalist, Matt Steinmetz, have created:

iSpark1

iSpark4

iSpark2

Golden State Warriors: Looking Ahead To The First Round

Dec 25, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) calls out to his teammates against Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

It’s official. The Golden State Warriors, the sixth seed in the Western Conference, and the Los Angeles Clippers, the third seed, will face each other in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

To start out the preview of this matchup, let’s just say that the Warriors and the Clippers do not like each other, on and off the court. It seems like almost every time they play each other, there’s some type of scuffle and usually several technical fouls given out.

In addition, much of this tension has carried over to their relationships off the court. Most teams attend chapel with their opponent before each game, but the Warriors and Clippers refuse to attend chapel together.

Although their dislike for each other started just a couple seasons ago, there is certainly a rivalry between these two teams. This is why this first round matchup will be so entertaining.

It’s almost like it was meant to be. Both these teams have risen from pretenders to contenders in the past few seasons, and they both believe that they’re better than the other team. They also both play exciting brands of basketball, and whenever they play each other, the games are incredibly competitive, physical, and entertaining.

The Warriors and the Clippers faced each other four times during the regular season. Their first two contests were fairly close, and the next two contests were blowouts. They split the games 2-2.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that could decide which team wins this playoff series.

One of the key factors to this series is that the Warriors will be without Andrew Bogut, who is out indefinitely with a fractured rib. The Warriors will struggle without Bogut for several reasons.

Mar 2, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Warriors 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, Bogut is the Warriors’ defensive anchor and rim protector. He doesn’t just block shots, he changes shots, changes how offenses attack the rim, and he defends the weak side extremely well. He also sets great screens on offense. These simple explanations don’t fully explain how important he is to the Warriors, offensively and defensively, as a whole.

Second, without Bogut, the Warriors will have trouble containing the Clippers’ size. Blake Griffin is a beast and is having an MVP-type of year. DeAndre Jordan isn’t a huge offensive threat, but his athleticism can really hurt the Warriors’ frontcourt.

It will be difficult for the Warriors to win the frontcourt matchup with the Clippers, but they could win the backcourt matchup.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson make up one of the best backcourts in the NBA. The Clippers will most likely send multiple defenders at Curry to try to force him into turnovers and bad shots.

Chris Paul defends Curry well and forces him to turn the ball over a lot, so this could be a tough matchup for Curry. They have played against each other so much during the NBA season and they work out together in the offseason, but these two often bring out the best in each other.

Curry has been playing at a whole other superstar level recently though, and it seems like no one will be able to stop him.

In terms of defense, the Warriors’ perimeter defense is one of their strengths. Andre Iguodala, Thompson, and even Curry at times, to a lesser extent though, are all great defenders and can lock down or contain whoever they’re guarding.

The Warriors could have difficulty with defense in the frontcourt though. Even if they decide to start Draymond Green at power forward, to guard Griffin, or Jermaine O’Neal at center, to guard Jordan, they will still face some trouble defensively, given the Clippers’ size and athleticism.

In order to limit the Clippers’ frontcourt offensively, the Warriors might want to employ the hack-a-Jordan philosophy. Jordan is shooting 42.8 percent on free throws, and the Clippers, as a team, shoot 73 percent on free throws, which is 26th in the NBA.

Griffin has improved as a free throw shooter, but in the right situation, the Warriors might want to foul him too. They need to be careful though, because Griffin does a lot of “flopping,” and the Warriors, especially Green, can’t afford to get into foul trouble.

Nov 23, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) stand during a break in play against the Sacramento Kings during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 103-102. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors also need to be active on the boards. The Clippers give up 43.7 rebounds per game, which is 25th in the NBA, so the Warriors need to take advantage of that.

On offense though, the Warriors could benefit greatly from going small and playing Green at power forward and Lee at center. Warriors fans are well aware of Lee’s defensive deficiencies, but offensively, he could succeed in a smaller lineup.

As a center, Lee thrives because he’s able to utilize his quickness against slower, bigger centers. Also, as a center, he doesn’t have to fight for space in the paint, which he often has to do with whoever is playing center for the Warriors.

Lee needs space to work in the paint and in post-ups in order to be effective. This is why he plays so well alongside Curry and Thompson. The Splash Brothers space the floor, and the Lee is able to work inside the paint and around the rim.

The Warriors will certainly face some tough matchups in the starting lineup, but the Clippers might also have an edge in terms of their bench and coaching. The Clippers have Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison, Danny Granger, Matt Barnes, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, and others all coming off the bench. That is an extremely deep bench with lots of different players who could hurt the Warriors.

The Warriors have had a fairly inconsistent bench this season. Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Harrison Barnes, and Marreesse Speights will be called upon for significant contributions off the bench, and they will have to step up big if the Warriors want to pull off the upset.

In terms of coaching, the Clippers might win the coaching category too. Although Mark Jackson led the Warriors to the Western Conference semifinals, Doc Rivers has won a championship. He has more experience, and he’s a defensive mastermind.

Jackson knows how to motivate his team and could out-coach Rivers in that sense, but it’s yet another challenge the Warriors will have to face.

With all this being said, the Warriors have more heart than possibly any team in the NBA. They will not give up, they will give their best, and they will put up a fight. They won’t go down easy, so don’t expect this series to be over quickly.

Prediction: Clippers win in 7

San Francisco Giants: 3 Good Signs/3 Bad Signs From First 10 Days

April 5, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) celebrates the 7-2 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants have played great baseball and shown much improvement so far in the 2014 season. The Giants knew that 2013 was disappointing in many different ways and that they would have to go back to fundamentals in Spring Training to have a more successful season in 2014.

Obviously, it’s still very early in the season, but the Giants have improved in several areas that they struggled with last season. There are still some areas that need work, but thankfully for the Giants, they have lots of time to improve in those areas.

Here are three good signs from the first 10 days of the 2014 season for the Giants:

1) Brandon Belt’s hot streak at the plate has carried over from last season. Belt is currently hitting .342 and has a .737 slugging percentage with five home runs and nine RBI. He leads the Giants in home runs, RBI, and runs.

After hitting .350 with five home runs and 13 RBI and having a 1.051 OPS in August of 2013 and hitting .341 with two home runs and 15 RBI and having a .910 OPS in September of 2013, Belt was set to have a breakout year in 2014. Even though it’s early, it seems as if that prediction will come true.

Belt is on pace to have an All-Star caliber year, and he could possibly even hit 25-30 home runs this season.

2) The Giants’ offense so far this season, specifically their power numbers and their hitting with RISP, has been impressive. As of Wednesday, the Giants rank first in MLB with 13 home runs, whereas in 2013, the Giants ranked second to last in MLB with 107 home runs for the whole season. Obviously, it’s early in the season and the Giants played their first four games in the hitter-friendly Chase Field, but the power displayed so far by Belt, Buster Posey, Michael Morse, and others has been impressive.

Apr 6, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) follows through on a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to their power, the Giants lead MLB with a .393 average with runners in scoring position. They also lead MLB with a .462 average with runners in scoring position and with two outs.

These are all impressive, especially given the fact that the Giants struggled so much with runners in scoring position last year. In 2013, the Giants left an average of 3.70 runners in scoring position per game, which ranked 26th in MLB.

The Giants’ offense has looked more powerful than last season, and Angel Pagan deserves a lot of credit. Pagan is hitting .447, which leads the Giants, and has a home run and eight RBI. He also leads the Giants in OBP with .488 and hits with 17. Pagan has also hit safely in all nine of the Giants’ games so far. Pagan is healthy, and the Giants’ offense is benefiting greatly from his presence and his hot hitting.

3) Tim Hudson has become a fan favorite because of his dominant pitching so far. He’s started two games so far, and he’s gone 2-0 and has a 1.15 ERA, 11 strikeouts, no walks, and a 0.64 WHIP in 15.2 innings. He’s allowed opponents to hit just .182 against him, and he’s allowed just 10 hits and two earned runs.

Every single one of these stats is excellent, but one of the important stats to the Giants is the fact that he’s pitched 15.2 innings in two starts. So far this season, Hudson is the only Giants starting pitcher to complete seven innings, and he’s done this in both of his starts.

Last season, Giants’ starting pitchers threw too many pitches, made too many early exits, and this taxed the bullpen and Posey. Hudson’s efficiency and low pitch counts are already greatly benefiting the Giants.

Here are three bad signs from the first 10 days of the 2014 season for the Giants:

1) Besides Hudson, the starting pitchers haven’t shown some much-needed stability. One of the main reasons why the Giants failed to make the playoffs in 2013 was because their starting pitchers struggled, besides Madison Bumgarner. They need this to change in 2014, and so far, they haven’t proven they can be more reliable as a staff.

Apr 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32) in the third inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Matt Cain has a 5.73 ERA, Tim Lincecum has a 9.90 ERA, and Ryan Vogelsong has a 9.00 ERA. Bumgarner has a 1.74 ERA, but he hasn’t pitched more than 6.1 innings yet.

Vogelsong’s struggles have been the most concerning, because he has faced serious velocity and mechanical issues since returning from injury last season. Hopefully Vogelsong, and the pitching staff as a whole, can bounce back.

2) Marco Scutaro started the season on the DL, and there haven’t been any updates so far on his status. Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group reported that Bruce Bochy has no idea when Scutaro will be back with the team.

“I really don’t know,” Bochy said when asked about Marco Scutaro. “I know he’s doing baseball activities. I don’t even have a target date for you and I don’t think Dave Groeschner can even have that for you.”

So far, Scutaro’s absence hasn’t been too troublesome for the Giants because of the emergence of Brandon Hicks, the versatility that Joaquin Arias possesses, and the defensive prowess of Ehire Adrianza. However, it has to be a little concerning that the Giants don’t have a timetable for the return of their 2012 NLCS MVP and 2013 All-Star.

3) The Giants struggled mightily with defense last season, and they’ve shown some inconsistency on defense this season too. During the first game of the season, they committed two errors but it easily could’ve been more than that. They struggled with executing simple rundown plays, handling bunts, etc.

It even prompted Bochy to ask bench coach Ron Wotus if they needed to start spring training again. The Giants made a point during spring training to get back to the fundamentals on defense, and it certainly didn’t show during that first game.

The Giants have played better defense since then, but they need to keep improving.

Golden State Warriors: Is Mark Jackson In Trouble?

March 12, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson watches game action against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

In the past couple weeks, much of the discussion about the Golden State Warriors has been about Mark Jackson. Many Warriors fans want Jackson to be fired, because they believe the Warriors haven’t lived up to expectations. They have classified the 2013-14 season as disappointing, despite the Warriors’ 46-29 record.

Does this mean Jackson’s future with the Warriors is in trouble? Not exactly…

On the court, his allocation of minutes, his play-calling, his rotations, and his decision-making have all been criticized this season, some of it warranted and some of it not.

Off the court though, Coach Jackson is one of the best motivators in the NBA, and often, motivating players can be the hardest task of all for a coach.

Coach Jackson isn’t a Gregg Popovich type of coach. Popovich is a master of both play-calling and motivating his players. However, Coach Jackson is still learning and developing as a coach. This is his third year of coaching in the NBA, and even though he could improve in certain areas, he’s not by any means a bad coach.

Tim Kawakami brings up a good point that Coach Jackson could use another top assistant coach, besides Pete Myers. Last season, Michael Malone, now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, was Jackson’s top assistant, and many fans have discussed how much his absence this season has affected Jackson.

Despite the rumors that Jackson and Malone would go for weeks at a time without speaking to each other, Malone was known as the X’s and O’s coach for the Warriors. He drew up the plays in timeouts and in close-game situations, and many people believe that’s a skill that Jackson lacks.

Malone was also the “defensive coordinator” of the Warriors. However, in Malone’s absence, the Warriors rank fourth in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage at 43.6 this season after ranking fourth last year too. The Warriors haven’t seen a decline in their defense since Malone left, so Jackson has to be given credit for that.

In addition to the drama associated with the Malone situation, Jackson had trouble with another assistant coach, Brian Scalabrine, this season. About a week or so ago, it was reported that Jackson forced a reassignment of Scalabrine to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. This isn’t huge news because Scalabrine was the fourth assistant coach, but it does further the drama about Jackson’s “strained” relationship with the front office.

Jackson has one year left on his contract, and there hasn’t seemed to be any talks between Jackson and management about a contract extension.

In fact, there have been other rumors that Jackson might leave the Warriors after this season to coach the New York Knicks. Of course, this is all speculative at this point.

Also fueling the rumors of tension between Jackson and the front office, Joe Lacob hasn’t spoken out in support of Jackson since the Scalabrine reassignment.

However, Bob Myers showed support for Jackson yesterday in an interview with KNBR. Here are some quotes from the interview:

 

 

 

Along with Myers, many of the Warriors players have openly supported Jackson. Stephen Curry has been the most vocal about it. He said he loves playing for Jackson and he supports him 100 percent.

The Warriors’ other captain, David Lee, has also supported Jackson. Sam Amick of USA Today Sports spoke to Lee about this:

“We have one of the best locker rooms, in my opinion, in the whole league,” said Lee, the ninth-year pro who played his first five seasons with the Knicks. “I’ve been on teams that had awful chemistry and the coaching staff is constantly arguing with players and vice versa, and there has been none of that here. The word ‘dysfunction’ (which has been used in the media to describe the Warriors) is one that we’ve been laughing about, almost making a joke out of it, like are you serious?

“We trust Coach Jackson. We trust each other as teammates. There’s not a whole lot else you can worry about. Our chemistry is great. I think that we have a chance to do special things this year, so I’m just not going to let this bother me. We believe in Coach.”

Jermaine O’Neal has also been vocal about the situation, and he told Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Gourp that he might even consider coming back for a 19th year in the NBA just so he can play for Coach Jackson again.

“It’s a couple reasons why I will come back,” O’Neal said Saturday. “This fan base, this organization is first class, and obviously my teammates are great, as well.

“But the No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.”

O’Neal also said that all the criticism of Jackson and the discussion about firing him is “ridiculous.”

Fans set high, yet somewhat unfair expectations for the Warriors this season. The Warriors are currently 17 games above .500, which is nothing to complain about.

Fans expected the Warriors to contend for a championship this season, but they seem to forget that it takes a few years for young teams, like the Oklahoma City Thunder for example, to grow and develop into title contenders. These unfair expectations have unfortunately fallen on the shoulders of Jackson.

Jackson isn’t the best coach in the NBA. However, for both the Warriors and Jackson, becoming an elite team or an elite coach is a long process. Jackson can improve on some of his rotations and play-calling, but he is a significant reason why the Warriors have the impressive record that they have.

Jackson has been the perfect coach to get the Warriors out of the dirty doldrums of dysfunction, but is he the right coach to get the Warriors a championship? Only time will tell. As of now, Jackson shouldn’t be fired, especially since the Warriors’ best player, and face of the franchise, is a diehard supporter.