Trying to parse Jackson’s words is a mistake. It is a trivial exercise to find all the contradictions, frequently within the same sentence. Nothing that’s coming out of his mouth makes sense, except the generality that he’s trying to communicate: he feels betrayed, and he wants no connection to the team.
Betrayed about what? This: I believe the story that Nellie and Riley promised Jackson and Monta an impact big man. When Curry dropped to the Warriors and Nellie nixed the Stoudemire trade, that set Jackson and Monta off. And for good reason.
I mean, I understand their perspective. For one, they are coming off a playoff team that refused to resign its leader and point guard. When in recent memory has that occurred? For another, this Warriors team has been undersized for years now. Even when they were a playoff team, with Al Harrington and Matt Barnes, they were grossly undersized. It is reasonable to assume that Jackson and Monta were promised by Nelson that help on the front-line was coming, that they were only one piece away from having a playoff team again. Wait for it.
Then two things happened out of the blue. At midseason last year, the attitude-adjusted Mr. Anthony Randolph took the court, ready to play. And a transcendent talent blossomed before Nellie’s eyes. Hope for the power forward position, real hope, franchise-changing hope, was suddenly on the horizon. But it was a distant horizon. “Wait for it” became “wait a little more.”
The second thing was Stephen Curry. No matter how talented this kid is, this was an absolutely inexplicable move in the eyes of Jackson and Ellis. Two guys desperate to win, promised the help they needed to win, see Amare Stoudemire dangled in front of their eyes, and then snatched away in favor of a skinny kid point guard who is going to compete with Monta for leadership of the team. And the Warriors are as thin as ever on the front line. Perhaps thinner, with the Wright injury.
I understand very well where Jackson and Ellis are coming from. Which is not to say I condone the behavior. I don’t. Jackson is a man who obviously has next to no control over his emotions. He is a fool. A child. And like a child in a rage, he is absolutely blind to the effect his tantrum has on the world around him.
This is a tragedy, because at his best Stephen Jackson is one of the most valuable players in the NBA. It is not a coincidence that he won a world championship, AND played a major role in the greatest upset in NBA playoff history. When he moves on, as I expect he will at mid-season, to a playoff contender, he will immediately make his new team better. Regardless of what happened here, the seeming betrayal, the ridiculous and nonsensical words, he will once again be what Tim Duncan called him, “the ultimate teammate.”
This is a tragedy, because after the removal of Baron Davis and Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson was what was left of the heart and soul of this Warriors team. Those are the three cold-blooded killers who dismembered the #1 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs before the roaring fans at Oracle.
When Jackson has gone, what remains of our Warriors team will be far nicer.
And far less able to win big games.