The Golden State Warriors have fired head coach Mark Jackson after three seasons with the team.
Jackson finishes with a 121-109 record (including a 51-31 record this season), 9-10 in playoff games and consecutive playoff appearances. The Warriors upset the Denver Nuggets in last year’s first round, and loss to the Clippers in the first round in seven games this season, despite the loss of Andrew Bogut for the season due to injury.
Go back to the second paragraph for a minute: Jackson led the Warriors to consecutive playoff appearances. Before Jackson came to Golden State, the Warriors had not even SNIFFED the playoffs in several seasons.
I know that Jackson had been at the center of rumors of conflict with the front office and ownership for months.
I know that Jackson removed two of his assistant coaches, Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman. Scalabrine was reassigned after Jackson reportedly tried to fire him in front of Warriors players without clearing it with ownership, and Erman was caught recording conversations in what is reportedly an effort to illustrate the way Jackson and the rest of the staff were undermining his authority. There were even rumors of Jackson not wanting respected front office man and NBA legend Jerry West at practices.
In other words, Jackson’s relationship was a hot mess with not only the front office but with some members of his coaching staff.
However, I know one thing for sure: Jackson is a winner.
Again, the man won 51 GAMES this year and took the Clippers to seven games in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Warriors had no damn business even winning more than one game in that series. Jackson’s players, most importantly Stephen Curry, love him.
How do the players feel now that Jackson has been fired? Will they stick around? Would free agents even want to go there now?
I think this is going to be the beginning of some lean years in Warrior-land. Memo to other coaches: good luck in capitalizing on Jackson’s success next season.
I, as you, are not privy to all that may have been happening behind the scenes. But while winning is a coach’s most important objective, it’s not his only objective. His house must be in order as far as maintaining positive relationships with his other coaches, GM and employers. I don’t know if he was disrespectful to the people who sign his checks. But if he was, he’d better get to the conference finals at a minimum.
Mark Jackson will get another shot, no doubt. If he’s smart, and I believe he is, he’ll learn from this.