Firing Jackson daring move by Warriors

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: GameTime crew discusses the Warriors firing Mark Jackson

And so it turns out that hiring Mark Jackson to coach the Warriors wasn’t the risky move by owner Joe Lacob.

Firing him was.

Jackson’s future in Golden State had been in obvious peril for months, since Lacob made it a very public issue in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group, and so the announcement Tuesday that Jackson was gone was no surprise. When 51 wins in the regular season followed by a commendable playoff showing in a seven-game loss to the better team, the Clippers, with the complete backing of star player Stephen Curry doesn’t save a job, then Lacob was clearly heading in this direction for a long time.

Now all Lacob has to do is find someone better.

The emotional owner wanted a coach who would take the Warriors from the traditional fun bunch of an offensive threat to a group that would defend, and Jackson delivered. The owner wanted a team of passion that would offer something more than the signature Golden State pratfall of regular-season thrills replaced by zero playoffs or a few games as the sparring partner, and Jackson delivered. The owner wanted someone who could mesh veterans together while developing prospects, and Jackson delivered.

One of the best fan bases in the league, supportive in the drought years and all the right kinds of maniacal in the payback of the playoffs the last two seasons under Jackson, is going to want an explanation from Lacob and deserves one.

Jackson’s attitude of superiority created the distance from ownership and the front office that would become his undoing, but he had the locker room. The underdog Warriors went to Denver, nearly an impossible place for road teams to win in 2012-13, lost All-Star David Lee, didn’t flinch, had a hobbled Curry, beat the Nuggets and pressed the Spurs to six games in the second round. The underdog Warriors faced the Clippers this season without the important defensive and emotional presence of Andrew Bogut, didn’t flinch, and got to the final minute of the final game on the road before losing Saturday.

Amid all the positives of the roster in place combined with the aggressive and smart early history of Lacob and general manager Bob Myers joined with the support around the Bay Area, there will be no shortage of interested replacements. They will wonder about whether Lacob’s passion leads to unrealistic expectations, but people like Steve Kerr will also be able to rationalize it to themselves. This has become a destination franchise, and putting the Knicks and Warriors back to back is a no contest, with the added appeal that Kerr would be relatively close to his San Diego home base. New York has the singular advantage of the relationship with Phil Jackson.

The classic part is that if Jackson had this exact run with another team and he was available at the same time there was a vacancy in Oakland, he would be the epitome of what Lacob wanted. Instead, Kerr has emerged as the leading candidate as what Jackson was immediately before the Warriors hired him in 2011: a former veteran guard used to pressure situations but with no experience on the bench at any level and a post-playing career in broadcasting.

The absence of coaching experience made Jackson a daring move for Lacob then, before Jackson repaid the confidence. It just wasn’t the ultimate gut call that could blow up on the Warriors. Firing Jackson was.


VIDEO: Jackson gets emotional after Warriors’ Game 7 loss in Los Angeles

24 Comments

  1. Sunny says:

    For 24 years of NBA fans, Mark earned my respect as a great coach and great achivement. Hope he can a job really fast,Worriors pal,big lost!

  2. Matt says:

    Most people posting here seem to be fans of other teams who have clearly never watched the warriors through the regular season, and are basing their opinion on play off games and win totals, instead of looking at his coaching style and ability to work with the front office.
    Jackson was an excellent motivator and clearly had a team that wanted to play for him, but he also made no adjustments to his coaching approach. He consistently called for low percentage options like iso’s simply looking to burn mismatches instead of running a more fluid offensive system that, given the weapons we have, should have been in place. If the defense managed to interrupt the first option we had no back up movement, dissolving into isolation sets or contested shots.
    Many of his rotation changes were baffling, and while he should receive credit for improving their defensive schemes, adding one of the best defensive centers and wing players to the roster should have an impact.
    It was a brave decision but many hard core warrior fans believe Jackson didn’t have the coaching nous to get them to the next level. The next coach will carry enormous expectations, but hopefully provide a more consistent offensive to take advantage of Curry shooting threat in particular.
    And ultimately, as has been stressed many times, he was NOT fired for basketball reasons, he was fired for in house problems.

  3. qdqq says:

    Disrespectful to fire jackson, he turned that franchise around, made steph curry look like an MVP caliber player.

    Warriors was a laughing stock before jackson came, at the start of this season they were a darkhorse contender. And replacing jackson with kerr? that has no coaching experince, and to take over a roster that loves jackson, I can only see this getting worse for the warrioirs before its getting any good.

  4. Bertran says:

    I thought this was a good move just like I thought getting rid of Jerrett Jack was. Jackson lacked intuition with regards to which players to combine when. Bruce Bochy made all the right moves in the first world series and we need a wizard like that.

  5. elcapitan1019 says:

    George Karl got Coach of the Year as Denver won 57 games and got fired, so why is this a surprise? The Warriors made a more valiant run LAST year; Lee was hurt and Bogut was not 100% and neither was Curry 100%, yet they beat the 57 win Nuggets and could have won the series against the Spurs, so I consider this year a regression. Despite being shorthanded last year, they never lost 138-98 like they did this year. Yes, Bogut was out, but the rest of the team had more talent than last year’s team, more depth, but it did not have the pizzaz of last year’s team.

  6. okc2014 says:

    Bill, you are funny!

  7. squala96 says:

    Sometimes we question why someone gets fired for doing his job. In fact, Mark Jackson more than fulfilled his role. I thought the series against the Clippers will go no more than 1-4, but taking it to Game 7 with a considerably inferior lineup was remarkable. It’s not the coach’s fault that Bogut keeps getting injured. The team took in the overrated Iggy but lost substantial bench players like Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. The development of Harrison Barnes was also halted when his starting position was taken from him this year. With the current GS roster, I can’t see how another mentor could have done better.

    Jackson should come to the Lakers and Curry can follow suit after his contract expires. The Warriors don’t deserve superstars like him if they put pride over logic in their decisions.

  8. NBAAllDay says:

    Mark Jackson returns to New York?

  9. Bill says:

    Next Halloween I’m gonna dress up as a damn idiot and say I’m the Warriors management.

  10. Paul says:

    Lakers please go after Mark Jackson! We would love to have such a great coach as he here in Los Angeles. Firing Mark Jackson is a huge blunder, GS you can kiss playoffs goodbye.

  11. Go Heat says:

    As Mr Jackson would say…. Mama there goes that man!

  12. esc says:

    Of course it did not matter that Mark Jackson had the cards stacked against him. He had his starting center hurt, Lee and Curry were not 100% for several games too. It is time to call a spade a spade: Mark Jackson got the Mike Brown treatmen, or maye I need to define it the old A. A. treatment. Let me clarify that for the “socially engineered” it is all about R & W. S. You would think we are still living in the 60’s. The more things change the more they remain the same. Yet another team, (Golden State) to put on my list of tacky, & trashy-led NBA organizations. Time to roll out the carpet for Steve Kerr and I GUARANTEE you he would never be disrespected in that manner. Steve will get the benefit-of-the-doubt just like Mike D’Antonii did in LA… What a disgrace

  13. Bird33 says:

    Wow…what an absolutely mind blowing move. I’d be walking if was a warriors fan or player. Someone needs to tell this billionaire that his ego is not as important as having a great coach. Sorry if Mark pissed you off Joe but you didn’t hire him to kiss your behind….and he delivered on wins, defense and locker room chemistry.

    Joe….simply put….you’re an idiot

    To Steph, Klay, David, Iggy and Andrew….you should run like hell and go somewhere where ownership knows what it takes to win. You deserve better…much better.

    PS we’d love to have any or all of you in Boston…take some time..think it over :-)

  14. Brain32 says:

    Utter stupidity by the management and VERY disappointing

  15. MathSimon says:

    Really can’t believe they fired Jackson. I though that he brought the swagger the warriors needed. Hopefully this doesn’t comeback to bite the Warriors

  16. Lurch says:

    Managers getting bonus payments for reaching higher achievements while building stability and durability.
    Simple as that.
    Coaches get fired.
    Any questions?

  17. JPF18 says:

    This is a really stupid move by the Warriors’ management! Players really bought into Jackson’s system and wanted him to stay. The Warriors had the Clippers on the edge, without Bogut! Nobody had given the Warriors a chance (without Bogut) and they were just a couple of minutes away from exciting the deepest team in the NBA!

  18. J4CK Nicholson says:

    To the Lakers!!!!!I hope you can help rebuild the Lakers as what you did to Golden State.

  19. A Goose says:

    Business decisions won’t win championships

  20. eezynee says:

    Smart move by the dubs, guys like doc rivers and popovich coached circles around him. Very disputable that he developed prospects, our only prospect harrison barnes had a horrible sophomore season and klay thompson was way too inconsistent down the stretch. I’ve watched almost every game he coached and I can’t recall one time jackosn had a clipboard and drew up a play. This team is stacked with talent jackson was just along for the ride.

    • squala96 says:

      So how is Klay’s inconsistency Jackson’s fault? And besides Curry, exactly what stack of talent are you talking about?

  21. Grapefruit juice says:

    Great move, Warriors. See you in playoffs in next 20 years.

    • MathSimon says:

      Right you are my friend.

    • Dopeman says:

      I agree…The back office obviously forget what makes the team money! Wins Wins Wins and that comes down to coaches and players not hob knobs in the office!!!