Mark Jackson to Coach the Warriors, From Every Angle

Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.Andre Gide

After reacting with the requisite knee-jerk snarkiness to the news of Mark Jackson’s hiring — I tweeted: “It should come as no surprise that Joe Lacob just hired an expert at walking the ball up the court to coach the fastest team in the league.” — I’ve taken the last few days to come to a considered opinion. I’ve read through the media statements, done some research, and remembered some past Mark Jackson statements from his coverage of Warriors games.  I’ve looked at Lacob’s surprising choice for head coach of the Warriors from every angle.

You might be surprised by my take.                                  

The Warriors Identity Angle

“That’s not set offense, that’s getting a rebound and pushing the ball down the throat of the defense.” – Mark Jackson on the Heat offense against the Lakers, midseason.

“Don’t try to walk it up, that’s when they were a bad team. Put pressure on the defense by pushing it down their throat. You have the best players in the world, force the issue offensively.” — More Mark Jackson from the same game.

“Absolutely not. We will push the basketball. We will look to make plays in transition.” — Jackson when asked whether he will move the Warriors away from their up-and-down style (interview at NBA Finals).

“We’re going to have fun, but we’re going to earn it…. We’re going to play an exciting brand of basketball.” — Jackson on the Warriors, on PTI.

“You are doing the defense a favor when you post up Lee or Biedrins.” — Mark Jackson doing the Warriors v. Lakers preseason game.

“The Warriors are doing the defense a favor whenever they post up Biedrins or Lee.” — Jackson doing a Warriors v. Heat regular season game. Yes, he repeated himself.

“I believe he has an awfully bright future as a point guard in the league because he makes quality decisions and has the ability to flourish in either a movement-based system or a point-guard-dominant system where he would use the pick-and-roll more. That’s because of his quickness and amazing ability to shoot.”        — Mark Jackson analyzing Stephen Curry the Davidson Wildcat, in a 2009 ESPN article.

“I don’t want Steph Curry or Monta Ellis to be Mark Jackson…. These two guys’ greatest strength is scoring the basketball.”  — Mark Jackson on PTI.

In his media interviews, Mark Jackson stressed his defensive credentials, and his fierce commitment to “changing the Warriors culture” and “demanding accountability on the defensive end.”  And he paid lip service to the Warriors need to become more effective in the low post, and get “easy baskets.” All music to Joe Lacob’s ears, no doubt. He hit all the major talking points.

But as the above quotes should clearly indicate, Mark Jackson understands the current identity of the Warriors roster, it’s strengths and weaknesses.  He knows this team has to run to win.  He knows that Stephen Curry is a scoring point guard.  He knows that David Lee might be adequate in the low post, but is one of the best big men in the league in the pick and roll (because he said so during his Warriors broadcasts).  He knows that Andris Biedrins should never, ever, touch the ball in the low post. And he clearly demonstrates a belief that a head coach must coach to his team’s strengths.

In short, Mark Jackson is no Keith Smart. Based on his statements, I don’t believe Jackson will do too much pounding of round pegs into square holes.

If the Warriors are truly undergoing a change of identity from a gloriously talented, offensively-oriented running team, into a walk-it-up, throw it into the low post, defensively-oriented team — as threatened by Joe Lacob — it won’t start with Mark Jackson. It will have to start with Lacob himself, and a complete refashioning of the Warriors roster.

I have some hope that Mark Jackson’s ability to see the big picture and think and coach dynamically may prevent that.

The Stephen Curry Angle

I’m certain one of the biggest factors in Jackson’s hiring is the fact that he was a superlative point guard in the NBA, known as a coach on the floor, and thus well able to undertake the development of the Warriors most important player: Stephen Curry.

Perhaps even more importantly, Jackson is well-respected around the NBA –among GMs, coaches and players alike — and thus should have Curry’s respect from the start. Unlike Keith Smart, he’s walked the walk, and knows what the hell he’s talking about.

This difference between Jackson and Keith Smart cannot be overstated.

I think it was clear from the start that Smart mishandled Curry terribly, and that friction developed between the two. Smart clearly subordinated Curry to Monta Ellis. In Smart’s simplistic universe, Monta was the scorer and the closer, and Curry the facilitator. This must have been a bitter pill for Curry to swallow, as it would be for any player possessed of such extraordinary talents that he wasn’t allowed to display. Particularly after Don Nelson had made Curry the leader of the team in his rookie season, to tremendous results.

One of the most important tasks facing Lacob when he took over was convincing Stephen Curry to remain with the Warriors at the end of his rookie deal.  Lacob took a significant backward step in that regard by hiring Keith Smart. Last season was an absolute fiasco, that if my eyes didn’t deceive me, left Curry seriously disgruntled.

Now Lacob’s taken steps to turn that around.  If Mark Jackson’s comments regarding Stephen Curry can be taken seriously — I also remember him praising Curry lavishly last season, but couldn’t find the quote — then Curry will be reinstalled where he belongs at the top of the Warriors hierarchy.

And if Jackson’s stated intent to fit the Warriors’ playing style to the talents of its roster actually carries over to the hardwood, Stephen Curry — and Monta Ellis — will flourish.

And Stephen Curry will remain a Warrior for a long, long time.

The Poor Defender Angle

One thing that will definitely help Jackson establish rapport with Curry is the fact that he was such a poor NBA defender himself.  Jackson was slow as molasses as a point guard, far slower even than Curry. I think this will mean that Jackson will know what he can realistically ask Curry to do on the defensive end, and what he can’t. And Jackson will not only know how to scheme his team’s defense to mask Curry’s deficiencies, but he will be willing to do it.

A nice change from Keith Smart.

The Keys to the Franchise Angle

There is a rumbling that hiring Mark Jackson is a clear signal that the Warriors are handing the keys to the franchise to Stephen Curry.  Given that Mark Jackson’s hiring can only be fully explained by referencing the importance of Curry to the franchise; given that by his own statements, Jackson can be expected to more fully empower Curry; and given that Jerry West insinuations and Monta Ellis trade rumors are currently rocketing around the internets…

I think this angle has legs.

The NBA Credibility Angle

Since taking over, Joe Lacob has been obsessed with establishing the credibility of the Warriors franchise, and of making the Warriors an attractive option for free agents. The hirings of Bob Myers and Jerry West were obviously made with this in mind. Before that, Lacob gave countless interviews stressing his determination to win and his willingness to spend money to do it.  And he frequently mentioned how co-owner Peter Guber’s connections to the entertainment industry might attract free agents as well.

Mark Jackson’s hiring works very successfully in the same vein.  This hiring was extremely popular among the players around the league, former and current. Jackson is widely respected, and very charismatic. He’s a star, and players want to be around stars.

It’s easy to see that hiring a Mike Budenholzer or Lawrence Frank wouldn’t generate nearly this kind of buzz among free agents to be.  Might indeed have generated the opposite — buzz kill.

Whatever you might think of Lacob’s ownership to date, there can be no denying that both he and Guber are PR geniuses. And the hiring of Mark Jackson was a master stroke on a PR level.  As was making the hire during the NBA Finals, while Mark Jackson is announcing them.

I don’t put this down.  I think PR is extremely important in creating a successful franchise, and current ownership’s abilities in this regard are an enormous asset that the Warriors never had before.

Wasn’t that one of Cohan’s chief failures?

The Experience Angle

Obviously, if the Warriors had been able to hire Greg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni, George Karl or Alvin Gentry, that would have been a home run. Those guys would know what to do with the Warriors roster. But none of those guys were available. And Rick Adelman disqualified himself with his ambivalence.

Given what was available, I’m not sure experience was an important factor. Just as one example, would Mike Brown’s experience have made him a good choice for this team? Hell no.

In my mind the most important quality of a great head coach is the ability to think dynamically. To fit his strategic vision to his roster.  Take Pat Riley, coach of the Showtime Lakers, and the smash-mouth Knicks. Or Don Nelson, who coached the defensively oriented Bucks, the Nellieball Warriors, and the balanced Mavericks. Or Popovich, who can play any style you want, and this year turned the Spurs into a running team.  Or Karl, who slowed down the Nuggets to fit Anthony and Billups, and reverted to Nellieball as soon as they were gone.

Judging from his statements about Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis and the Warriors style of play, Mark Jackson seems to possess this essential quality. He’ll get the big picture.

Which makes him a huge upgrade from Keith Smart, who had all the experience you could wish for.

The Jeff van Gundy Karmic Angle

In my opinion, Jeff van Gundy found his true calling as an NBA color man. There is simply no better.  The same, unfortunately, could not be said for his partner in crime, Mark Jackson, whose every cliched utterance makes me wince in pain.

But could it be that Jackson, by turn of the karmic wheel, has now found his true calling as well?

The Beat LA Angle

Jerry West was ecstatic in his interviews over the hiring of Mike Malone.  Partly because he knows the Warriors will need a competent X’s and O’s guy with real experience on the bench, and he greatly admires Mike Malone. Partly also because Mike Malone was his guy and Mark Jackson was strictly Lacob’s guy.

But also, I’m certain, because the Warriors snatched Mike Malone from the greedy clutches of the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Lakers wanted Malone as lead assistant, after already stealing away Lacob’s first choice to lead the Warriors, Mike Brown.

Hiring Mike Malone was delicious revenge, not just for West but for Warriors fans. Even better in my mind than if Lacob had actually gotten his first choice. Miraculously, Brown chose the Lakers, and the Warriors are far the better for it.

When was the last time the Warriors got to stick it to the Lakers?

The Celtic Angle

Obviously the Warriors dual hire of Jackson and Malone resembles closely the Celtic’s hire of Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau.  Rivers the front man, the former point guard with NBA cred, the player’s coach, the PR guy with TV analyst experience.  Thibodeau the lifer assistant, the behind-the-scenes genius with the X’s and O’s.

Little doubt that Lacob’s experience of the Celtics contributed to these hires, is there?

The Don Nelson/Mike Malone Angle

It’s even more amusing now, isn’t it, that when Don Nelson delegated the defense to Keith Smart, he was accused of being old and checking out?

The Pedigree Angle

Jerry West stated in his media interview that he wanted a coach from the coaching tree of Pat Riley, Larry Brown or Greg Popovich. In his mind, those coaches have had the most NBA success.

Although Jackson has no coaching experience, he might satisfy West’s prerequisite.  Jackson played point guard on playoff teams for both Pat Riley and Larry Brown. And he also played for three other Hall of Fame coaches: Lou Carnasecca (St. John’s), Lenny Wilkens and Jerry Sloan.

Lead Assistant Mike Malone could also be viewed as coming from Popovich’s tree.  He worked for several years as Mike Brown’s lead assistant on the Lebron Cavaliers. Mike Brown was an assistant for Greg Popovich.

The Mike Brown Angle

It could have been Mike Brown, of the slow-the-game-to-a-tortuous-crawl-to-establish-your-defensive-credentials-even-if-you-have-the-greatest-open-court-player-who’s-ever-lived school.

I’m eternally grateful it’s not.

The Mike Singletary Angle

Some fans and media have begun comparing the Mark Jackson hire to the 49ers’ Mike Singletary hire.  I just don’t see it.

First of all, Mark Jackson is highly intelligent.  We know this not merely from his career as a second coach on the court.  But also from testimonials from GMs and players. For example, Donnie Walsh, as shrewd a GM as they come, recently called Jackson one of the sharpest basketball minds he knew, and stated that he would have hired him to GM the Knicks if Dolan would have allowed it. And John Amaechi, a pretty bright guy himself, in an interview with WarriorsWorld.net, stated Mark Jackson was the most “secretly brilliant” athlete he’d ever encountered.

Not words I’ve ever heard associated with Singletary.

Second, as a middle linebacker and defensive coach, Singletary knew only one side of the ball.  He didn’t know squat about offense, and wasn’t that his biggest failing? By contrast, Mark Jackson — the floor general for Pat Riley’s Knicks and Larry Brown’s Clippers — is obviously intimately familiar with the X’s and O’s on both sides of the ball.

Third, Mark Jackson is hugely qualified to mentor the Warriors’ “quarterback,” Stephen Curry, and highly likely to establish a great rapport with him. Another thing Singletary failed spectacularly at, for obvious reasons.

This is one analogy I can’t roll with.

Feltbot’s Angle

Considering what was available, a good hire from almost every angle. With maybe a 25% chance of becoming a great hire. (How would you have handicapped Don Nelson’s chance of success in his first year? Pat Riley’s? To mention just two guys with very limited coaching experience before they got their first gig.)

As mentioned above, I feel confident from his statements that Mark Jackson knows that a head coach must coach to his roster’s strengths.  And I think he has the stature and the balls to do it, regardless of the interference of Joe Lacob. What remains to be seen is what shape the Warriors’ roster takes going into next season. That is going to be the biggest determinant of Jackson’s success.

Will Joe Lacob bag a decent big man in free-agency, as he has promised to do? Will he walk away with Nene?  (Nene should be offered the max.) Will Lacob finally address the Warriors’ glaring need for a big two-way shooting guard? Will he do it the right way, without trading away the Warriors’ star closer? Will he allow Riley and West the freedom to fix the Warriors bench?

If all these questions are answered in the affirmative, in one year’s time Mark Jackson will be a hero.

 

36 Responses to Mark Jackson to Coach the Warriors, From Every Angle

  1. geraldmcgrew

    Thanks. From your pen…

  2. Easily the best review I’ve seen yet, FB. Thanks and I’m on board.

    Maybe one more cause for optimism. I’ve read Jackson is a players coach and he’ll have a very intelligent, imminently coachable group of guys to work with. No prima donnas, no basket cases. They will help him develop.

  3. From that same ESPN article:

    “Now let’s talk about Curry. I have to issue a small disclaimer because I knew this young man when he was a child and played with his father Dell in Toronto. Back then, Stephen was a really good shooter and you knew he would be good a player down the road, but there was no way to know we were watching a kid who one day would be arguably the best collegiate player in the country.”

    !!!!!!!!!!

    I don’t think Jackson will be giving Curry time-outs as Smart did.
    29 points against Duke, btw (he didn’t have much of a team that year).

  4. WarriorsAblaze

    Great post, FB. I share many of your thoughts. I’m curious how the current trade rumors with Ellis will turn out. At first, I was fully on board with the AI trade idea, but now I’m not so sure. As much as Ellis sometimes frustrates me, I have to wonder what kind of player he could be with the right coach to rein him in… defensively and offensively. Seems there’s more reason for optimism moving forward than there has been in a long time.

  5. bravo, felt-meister, no one has come up with a better summation and analysis than you about this surprising course change. if what west said about lacob and jackson establishing a serious connection is true, we might get to see blitzkrieg hoops again with a slick, ball handling center (jackson like lee there on offense, i.i.r.c.) when they play half court stuff, without meddling from chairman joe. as limited as jackson was with his individual defense, he understood team d quite well, and with minimizing his players’ weaknesses on defense (another blind spot of smart’s of course) that will be critical in improving the team’s overall performance.

    good to hear the enthusiasm and engagement returning to your opinions.

  6. Felt, good read. Fingers and toes crossed that this works.

  7. God, I hope you are right Feltbot. Reading elsewhere the masses tepid response to the hire was dispiriting. Your caveat that this is all based on what type of roster Jackson is given is cautionary. Lacob can still screw us fans of up-tempo regardless of what coach he has. But I’m going to cheer up and–until shown otherwise–look forward to next season with optimism (and pray Bismack drops!)

  8. Nice nice post Felty. The perfect mix of optimism and skepticism.

    I wanted Jackson as far back as last year. I had always been a huge fan of his game when he helped Indiana become an elite team and his takes as an announcer always stuck out in my mind as poignant and timely. I was particularly taken by his analysis of the Warriors when covering them during a nationally televised game and have been following him ever since. His idea for the Warriors was simply. Don’t stop running, don’t stop pushing the tempo, but if things weren’t there offensively early, don’t force anything. Simply back it out and run your offense. He also preached the necessity of good defense in being a running team. ultimately you can’t be a running team if you don’t get stops. He illustrated the problems I had long held to be ours and seemed to understand how to fix them.

    Now to turn talk into action.

    Also, was listening to the radio yesterday and Jackson’s fellow TV booth mate made the point that even as an announcer players would flock to him and ask him for advice both basketball and otherwise. His rapport with players will help bring more players here.

    All in all, this was the hire I would have made if I were GM. I am happy as hell they rolled the dice. I think we will be pleasantly surprised at how this all turns out. The man is a born leader and a natural coach to be. We got lucky.

  9. For those of you who expect Dallas to win these Finals, you should be intrigued by tonight’s line: Pick’em. You get Dallas without having to lay any points.

    My personal advice: Don’t do it!

    For those strictly interested in the basketball, tonight’s game should be particularly interesting for the Lebron angle. Lebron was called out in print by Bill Simmons, http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6640925/time-lebrondown-part-ii, among others, and it’s gotten his attention:

    “Got on the Internet, read y’all columns. They’re pretty good.”

  10. Last minor thoughts to an excellent analysis. I hate Jackson’s delivery when he talks, but as Feltbot points out, that is superficial and irrelevant to his job as a coach. Or it might be exactly the right kind of delivery for a huddle. Who was the Carolina Panther’s coach years back who was so successful–Fox? He was criticized by the media for the platitudes he spouted, but, as one commentator noted, he put them into practice and did inspire his team.

    But if you look at his ideas, as Feltbot has done, they are good ideas. His is not a simple mind driven by pat conceptions.

    One of the things that struck me about the ESPN piece is Jackson’s genuine enthusiasm for the game and its players. This is a plus for me and it might be infectious. There are several young, enthusiastic players on the team. If Jackson is cut some slack, allowed to experiment, and given support and some players, next year might be a lot of fun.

    And again, Feltbot, this is one of the best pieces of sports writing I’ve seen in a while, complex, thoughtful, and engaged.

  11. believewhat

    Felt,

    Very good post. You covered almost all angles. You restrained from Monta’s angle.

  12. It’s real this time: Monta trade talks “pretty hot.”

    http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/29914237

  13. Felt,

    Very nicely done. I recall Jackson saying that Curry was going to develop into an elite pg in the League, during one of his Warriors’ telecasts, and absolutely gushing over him. Jackson seems like a very intelligent guy who knows what it takes to win bball games. I’m very much looking forward to the Jackson/Malone tenure. I’m sure Curry and most or all of the others are excited, too.

    Lacob has created a buzz around the Warriors league-wide that hasn’t been there for a long time. I’m even considering purchasing game tickets again. What a transformation of the franchise over the past month.

  14. Excellent, feltbot. Best read on the hire I have seen.
    You have me even more excited about next season than I had been after West coming aboard and still dreaming of a coup in the draft.
    Well done!

  15. I hate to be pessimistic in the midst of so much rejoicing over the new guy, but while there’s certainly some hope, Feltie’s right to say that what the Warriors’ deal-makers accomplish over the summer will have far more impact than anything Jackson could possibly do as a first-year first-time coach.

    Running the Warriors’ starting five for 40+ minutes a game just ain’t gonna deliver a consistently good level of play. Right now the dubs have zero centers, subpar backup forwards and three just-plain-awful backup guards. The team is even short-handed, ever since the trade deadline.

    Filling the bench and upgrading it merely to “average” means replacing most of it, including Biedrins. Starting training camp with 20 or so fair-to-good players means buying out a contract or two, making 3-5 trades, getting at least a couple of free agents and selecting 3-4 reasonable prospects from the draft and D league. And the clock is ticking – there are only 3 months left before most other teams start freezing their lineups. So… given how quick and decisive we’ve seen the Warriors’ new management be so far, how likely is it that all that will come to pass this summer?

    Maybe they can do it. Say they do. After replacing half the team(!), getting coordinated team play from so many new faces would be a challenge even to a well-entrenched, experienced coach. Jackson might be an excellent guy, but he definitely is a rookie, new to the team, with a new philosophy and new plays and new players (and defense!) to figure out.

    Even if MJ walks on water and poops daisies, the odds simply don’t favor the Dubs improving beyond mid-pack in 2011-12. With the usual 1 or 2 key injuries, I’m guessing 40 wins.

    The starting 5 can still run with anyone on any given day. They’ll still be fun to watch. The Warriors will still be my team (damn the fate). But they’re not going anywhere next year either. Arrgh.

  16. NellyBallisaFAILURE

    Good thing I ignored the wisdom of Feltbot and absolutely POUNDED the Mavs tonight. LeChoke came through again.

  17. white hat, the new jackson-malone duet don’t really have to be miracle workers. a ten to twelve win improvement (based on a full season, which could very possibly get truncated) probably gets the team into the post season. have to walk before building up to a canter, after all.

    there are 6/15 roster spots that can be improved without making major deals — biedrins (maybe he’s bottomed out and will come back slightly ?), adrien, law, radmanovic, thornton, bell. three of 15 get deactivated game to game, leaving three necessary improvements, which is very feasible. a coherently run offense, sensible game management, udoh getting a full year’s seasoning (he will not have a complete off season and year of experience until Dec.), plus any slight improvement from the promised defensive transformation, and we’ll see a winning team. admittedly, wishful thinking, but that’s what early summer is for.

  18. Moto, you’re leaving out Amundson and Lin…?

    My analysis of the Finals hasn’t changed. It’s very hard to win on the road in non-elimination games. Throw in Wade’s injury and Dallas’ 13-19 from three and Joey Crawford and that’s all she wrote.

    The Heat are -6 in game 6, up from -4 in game 1. Makes you wonder what the line would be if Wade weren’t injured?

    Conventional wisdom is that Game 6 will be for all the marbles. The Mavs are at the height of their game. They have all the confidence home-cooking can inspire. The Heat, on the other hand, will open with the jitters. The Mavs need to translate this into another incredible performance. If they fail, they will face a much tougher game 7. How much tougher will probably be reflected in the line.

    Hilariously, I have a 4 day fishing trip scheduled during games 6 and 7! How this happened to fall on the last two games of one of the most fascinating Finals in history is quite a coincidence. I had no idea of the schedule when I agreed to it months ago — but I would have chosen the trip anyway. Probably.

    I am extremely distressed by the Monta Ellis trade rumors. It could be that the Warriors are just angling for a sucker deal. But it appears very serious this time. Monta’s agents are involved in trying to place him with a contender.

    Am I the only one who feels that what Joe Lacob is in the process of trading away is the Warriors ability to play like the Dallas Mavericks?

  19. “Am I the only one who feels that what Joe Lacob is in the process of trading away is the Warriors ability to play like the Dallas Mavericks?”

    No.

    Do I remember this right? Wasn’t one of Lacob’s theories that a team should be built around three key players (as in Boston)? Dallas is proof there are other options and may provide the best model for the Warriors.

  20. OK Moto, it’s Spring and the birds are singing, and everything’s going to turn out fine.

    But to your list of Warriors’ below-average players, I’d emphatically add Amundson and Lin. That’s 8 guys, more than half the team.

    Good teams have quality backups. On the best teams they’re starter-quality players. It pains me to say it, but the Warriors’ bench is Udoh, Reggie Williams and a bunch of guys other teams wouldn’t hire. And Udoh and Williams are both strictly one-dimensional players, a huge step down from starters despite their fine qualities.

    As Feltbot pointed out last season, Warriors management has to do more than bring in Big Stars to improve the team. They need a second team that won’t hurt them too badly. From what we’ve seen so far, acquiring fair-to-good role-players is difficult for Warriors management. They got one last year, Dorell Wright, but also brought in Amundson and Lin. Then they gave away Gadzuric at a time when they were desperate for centers. Good reserves are especially important on exhausting road trips and back-to-back games. Check the dubs road record.

    The sounds coming from the FO don’t make the bench problem seem like a four-alarm priority to them even now. Maybe they’re being cagey, maybe they have stars in their eyes, who knows? But it would be somewhat reassuring to hear that the issue is at least on their radar.

    Birds are chirping. We can hope. My hope is that The Logo will direct someone’s attention to the nuts-and-bolts personnel job at hand. I only wish West were in a position to kick some butt and get it done.

    The birds also sing about the great new coach. Hm. Even assuming the team does manage to upgrade half its players in 3 months, they’re handing the new mishmash to a (Wonderful guy! Smart! Natural Leader!) novice with a new philosophy, new plays, new assistant coaches, even a new training staff. Reality check: Jackson could eventually turn out to be A Coaching God but the dubs will not be a well-oiled team machine for some time. That takes several seasons, usually, even for good experienced coaches.

    Like you, this fan would like to be optimistic. Can’t. 40ish wins again next season. Ho hum. Go Warriors.

  21. I’m in full agreement, Felty, that the Monta trade rumors are very distressing. What are people thinking when they want to send off our best player, top 10 in league scoring, on some weak prospective notion that we would improve the team? There are very few impact players who can create their own shot in the NBA, especially when defense is as tough as it has been in the playoffs. Monta is one of them.

    Yea, you folks can dream about trading Monta for someone like Dwight Howard, but I’m talking about actual players we could get while honoring the NBA’s crazy trade rules. There just aren’t any, and please don’t mention second-raters like O.J. Mayo or Iguodala any more. The stupidity of this is making me crazy.

    So is all the related foolishness about the size of our starting guards. Mark Jackson himself noted that Ellis and Curry are bigger than the two guards who started for Dallas in Game 5 of the Finals – Barea and Kidd. Dallas won. So much for size mattering in the back court.

    I chalk it up to the irresistible impulse of most fans – and sportswriters – to play, “General Manager for a Day.” Thank the Maker that these idiots have no say at all in this decision.

  22. feltmeister, white hat, lin and amundson were deliberately omitted from that 6/15 roster places that are feasibly improved, mainly because they’re both very likely to remain [lin keeping hopes alive he can be a viable reserve through his strong defense and slightly improved shooting, and getting that second year guaranteed ; amundson has a player option he’s unlikely to exercise to leave] , and it’s conjecture whether either will significantly get better. it’s not impossible that jackson actually takes a fancy to lin. williams and lin actually did o.k. as the relief guard tandem in a very limited sample size, but it makes sense with their complementing +’s/-‘s.

    Mem made it to the post season with 46 wins ; why not us ? have a great fishing trip — nothing like contemplation in the outdoors, or do you take a laptop/iphone ?

  23. This just in from you-know-who:

    Jackson also absolutely vouched for Monta Ellis in the official part, then went all-in for Ellis, at least rhetorically, afterwards. (Both Joe Lacob and Jerry West made a point of referring to Jackson’s strong support of Ellis when answering Ellis-trade questions, FYI.)

    JACKSON: I think this guy [Monta] is a big-time player. And I think he’s the third best shooting guard in the league. You have Kobe obviously and Dwyane Wade. I will match him up against anybody else on a given night and feel extremely comfortable about it.

  24. “You have Kobe obviously and Dwyane Wade. I will match him up against anybody else…”

    Just this comment alone makes me love the guy (Jackson). I get SO tired of stat-grinders who take more pleasure out of some perception “revealed” by numbers instead of just enjoying the beauty of the game. And then whining ad nauseum in print against anyone who says they like Monta.

  25. Hmmmmm–from Yahoo:

    “Jackson was adamant that the team’s backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry can be as successful defensively as it has been offensively. He said he looks forward to coaching Ellis—always the subject of trade talk—and wouldn’t move the team’s star guard for anything less than one of the league’s top players.”

    Jackson could be promoting Ellis to set up a trade.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=ArKUOhxCVKBDfelqJ3z5WcC8vLYF?slug=ap-warriors-jackson

    Not good reading, btw, but I guess he has to get into the promotional schtick.

  26. oregon guy, your perceptions are as valid as anyone’s, but isn’t ‘the beauty of the game’ in the eye of the beholder ? just my personal taste, but the guys who relied on overpowering, out jumping, or high velocity like ellis, jordan, d.wilkins, o’neal, ‘king’ james, are not aesthetically pleasing in the sense of harmony and balance. gross magnitude has its own thrill of course, but how about change of pace, timing, misdirection, surfing the flow instead of breaking it down, frazier, the iceman, the dream. for players of ellis’ stature, tiny archibald, lenny wilkens, curry please my eyes more. did you see the new coach play much ? very effective, with minimum power and speed.

    jackson must play the salesman, pitching himself to the players, fans, national media. does he truly rank ellis the third best at his position in the entire league ? only he really knows, perhaps he’s confided in lacob, west, or malone, but he is surely aware that ellis will likely be on the team he’s expected to win with, and what a fan favorite he is.

  27. Lacob talks about the Monta (possible trade) situation.

    —————————————–

    Q: How realistic is it in your mind that Monta Ellis will be traded?

    -LACOB: I don’t think he will be. I mean, you want me to give odds now? There’s a tremendous amount of speculation in the press, and I can’t believe where all this is coming from… because the stories are completely fabricated, by you or whoever. I don’t know who’s fabricating them.

    They’re fabrications, complete and utter. All these teams that supposedly have talked to us. It’s not true. It’s just not true.

    I’m not saying we haven’t had any discussions, we have. But it’s nothing like what’s being reported.

    We all really like Monta Ellis a lot. We think he’s a great player. The question will be, like with every other player on the team–is there someone we think makes more sense, that could be better, make us a better team?

    If that happens and we think we can get a good deal, then we’d consider doing it. Every other player… no one’s excluded from that.

    But I would say right now, if I had to bet, Monta Ellis is going to be on this team.

    -Q: Have you had discussions with Monta telling him he might be traded?

    -LACOB: I’ve had that discussion and Larry has had that discussion with everybody, saying look, things do happen in this business. And they get that. But there’s no… it’s not imminent that Monta Ellis is being traded.

    -Q: That is being reported by other people…

    -LACOB: Other people who have an agenda. People need to think about where that comes from. It’s not us.

    -Q: And yet many trades happen that are denied and denied, right until they happen.

    -LACOB: I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I’m just saying, go talk to Mark Jackson about Monta Ellis and you’re going to hear something very interesting.

    He thinks he’s a very, very, very good player. And not somebody you should trade unless you’re going to get a very, very, very good player back in return.

    And there’s also the business side—do the contracts make sense? If you’re going to bring back somebody in a trade, you’ve got to make sure that they fit in the context of your whole team and the terms of the cap structure…

    You’ve got to think about all those facts when all those rumors are out there.

    -Q: When you look at those two guards, are you happy with that?

    -LACOB: I think you should go to Mark Jackson and ask him what he thinks. We’re going to consider every option to make ourselves better, I’m not going to deny that. Draft, free agency, trade, we’re going to look at them all.

    But right now, he’s part of our team. We’re very excited he’s part of our team and the plan as we sit today is to have him be there, absolutely.

    And I will tell you, it’s going to be very hard for me, at the end of the day I have to make the final call, right? Larry and Jerry and those guys will recommend… and Mark Jackson… Bob Myers… they will recommend and we’re going to have to make a call because we have to be comfortable that that guy is somebody we want in the organization.

    Monta Ellis happens to be one of my favorite players, I’ll just tell you. Not going to be traded very lightly, if he were to be traded.

  28. Jerry West on the same topic (from yesterday’s PC).

    ————————————–

    -Q: Where is the mindset right now on the Monta Ellis trade situation?

    -WEST: You know what? I read more about it in the newspaper than I know.

    One of the things I suggested to them was, before you even talk about personnel, ask Mark about the backcourt.

    He said he’s comfortable with it, very comfortable. And I think he’s not going to be a guy who’s just going to tell you what you want to hear. He’s going to be straightforward with you.

    He likes both of them. And you always like somebody in the last part of the game who can create a shot, get a shot, draw double-teams, get to the free-throw line. Those guys are really invaluable.

    So if they’re going to do something, I’m not sure what they really want to do right now. It’s important that he has input in anything they try to do.

    But I think the biggest factor for them, they need big. They need big more than they need small.

  29. “He said he looks forward to coaching Ellis—always the subject of trade talk—and wouldn’t move the team’s star guard for anything less than one of the league’s top players.”

    This looks pretty clear to me–they would trade Ellis, and not Curry, for a top, larger player, and they may well be making moves here, as has been rumored. Jackson has to be passing on a message from above.

  30. I’m relieved to read what Lacob, Jackson and West are saying about Monta. Not only because they’re praising his talent, but because they’re clear about what they would need to get back in a trade. Jackson said, if you give me Dwight Howard or LeBron James, we would trade Monta. That’s a little extreme, but it’s the right message. Warriors management realizes they’ve got a great one, and they’d need to get a great one in return (which Iguodala is not). Thank you.

  31. I’m just trying to read the tea leaves. If we start hearing messages about how great a player is, Iguodala say, we’ll know what’s up.

  32. Jackson on Chronicle Live with my main man Papa stated that he wanted Ellis on the team and didn’t like trading him for the current rumored players involved. He then said however, if you’re telling me that we are trading
    Monta for Dwight Howard I would “give Monta a huge a say thank you very much” before sending him on his way. Classic line.

  33. Once again, Feltbot, you nailed it with your analysis of Mark Jackson. I am very encouraged to see the moves that have been made, and as far as I’m concerned, this franchise is finally on the rise.

    When I first heard Mark Jackson had been named coach, my initial knee-jerk reaction was something along the lines of “wtf?” I was so relieved that it wasn’t any number of other choices–good luck, Lakers–that I decided to wait and see what the man had to say. Everything I’ve heard and read about him to date makes me feel better by the minute. The Feltbot Seal of Approval cinched the deal.

    What we needed was a coach who understands and appreciates the players he has and who can make them better, not another square-peg-into-a-round-hole type; someone who can command the respect of the team and motivate them. I got so tired of watching Keith Smart yelling at his players from the sidelines. If I were Steph Curry, I’d be sending Warriors management thank-you notes by the bushel. I can hardly wait for the re-emergence of the gloriously dynamic point guard we had when Don Nelson was coach. Steph Curry, free at last. That I want to see.

    Maybe I’m just naive, but I’m going to believe what the Warriors organization is saying about trading Monta Ellis. They are not ducking the question, and Jackson sounds like he really wants to coach Monta. Jackson is exactly the kind of coach Monta Ellis would flourish under, and that’s something else I want to see. Ditto Epke Udoh.

    I know it’s early, but I’m having fun being a Warriors fan again.

  34. I tend to be one of the more optimistic commenters on this blog, but this time, I’m just not drinking the Mark Jackson Kool-Aid.

    So he said, with his preacher-like demeanor, “We’re not going to accept mediocrity.” Is he saying Keith Smart, Don Nelson and Mike Montgomery did accept mediocrity? I hope not, because it would be untrue. Then what is he saying? How will he be different? And how is he going to enforce it?

    He said he will hold players accountable and will use playing time to make his point. Does that mean he’s going to bench Ellis, Curry, Wright or Lee? I don’t think so. Smart benched Curry a number of times, and Curry played worse after that. If he benches anyone else, so what? So exactly how is he going to deliver all this stuff he claims?

    A big problem is that he’s never been in a position to test his wonderful motivational theories. We’re going to see situations next season when his inexperience as a head coach becomes obvious. Like any other rookie, he’s going to make mistakes. He says he knows his limitations, but he also says he was born a leader coming out of his mother’s womb. That comment is troubling — pride heading for a fall.

    I realize that in the past, some players have become successful head coaches, our own Al Attles being one example, Bill Russell another. But they had a better roster, so the comparison doesn’t work very well.

    I just don’t see any tangible reasons to assume this guy will make it, without a heaping helping of hope. But I’m not feeling it. I’m one of those people who drank the Mike Singletary Kool-Aid. I figured the 49ers players would eat up the motivation from an all-pro linebacker with killer eyes. Didn’t work out that way. Not even close.

    Notice that another recently appointed head coach, Jim Harbaugh, didn’t give us all this bluster about motivation, mediocrity and accountability. He didn’t need to, but Jackson does. He aced the interview with a rookie owner. He aced the press conference with shallow sportswriters who are impressed by what they call good theater. But as far as I’m concerned, Jackson is no better than a 50-50 shot, all things considered. I really hope he proves me wrong.

  35. I’m with you, MWLX, very disappointed in Mark Jackson’s 1st presser as coach. If all he has to offer is phony and egotistical-seeming soundbytes, it’s going to be another terrible season for the Ws. Not just bad, but gawd-awful.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell what else Jackson’s got. Since he doesn’t have a track record, we can only trust in Lacob’s, which is mixed. While he’s rich and successful in other fields, as acting GM so far he has heavily overpaid for one good player, chosen two terrible players, acquired zero decent backups, and run the team short-handed most of the year, grinding down his starters.

    In addition, Jerry West said only that Jackson “makes Lacob happy, which is most important.” Anyone who thinks that is a vote of confidence doesn’t get around much.

  36. White Hat, You really ought to go out and get around some. This is our GSW:

    1. West was hired to endorse Mr. Lacob’s decisions and praise Mr. Lacob’s basketball IQ. That is his job and in his job description;
    2. Myer’s there to executive Mr. Lacob’s decisions.
    3. Riley’s there to take blame.
    4. Malone’s there to translate Mr. Lacob’s BB philosophy into plays.
    5. Jackson was hired to take blame when the plays don’t work, and to cheer if they do.

    Now, read West’s statement on hiring Jackson again.