OAKLAND – It started as a way to raise expectations for a team with a history of losing, then quickly turned into a source of ridicule. Finally this week it officially became a bad campaign promise as the Warriors were eliminated from the playoff race and coach Mark Jackson was forced to confront his preseason guarantee that Golden State would reach the postseason in 2011-12.
The Warriors never came close. They started 5-11 and were at 22-35 before facing the Mavericks on Thursday night, when Jackson had to face the fact that a bold prediction built on emotion was now mathematically impossible.
The inevitable question brought the predictable answer: There are no regrets over the preseason guarantee he would repeat several times.
“No, not at all,” the rookie coach said. “I’ll take the heat, the criticism that comes with it, but I came in here with a mindset of changing the culture, and we’re changing the culture. There’s going to be some tough spots and obviously it hasn’t been the season we wanted it to be, but we’re excited about what the future holds. If I had to do it all over again, I’d come in talking the same mess.”
In that case, care to make a promise about next season?
“Growing and maturing,” he said. “No comment.”