At least one NBA analyst thinks Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson could be in a bit of trouble.
According to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider, Jackson is on a list of coaches to watch now that the first axe of the season fell over the weekend, when the Detroit Pistons fired first-year coach Maurice Cheeks on Sunday. Haberstroh wrote:
“The lineups just haven’t made any sense. Whether it’s his bizarre obsession with Harrison Barnes or his refusal to stagger Andre Iguodala’s minutes so he can play backup point guard, it’s hard to argue that Jackson’s curious rotation patterns have made the Warriors better. Ultimately, a team that stars Stephen Curry, Iguodala, Klay Thompson and David Lee shouldn’t be ranked 15th in offensive rating. Everyone is saying the right things now, but talk is cheap if the Warriors fall from their current perch as the No. 8 seed.”
The Warriors are 30-21 going into Monday night’s game at Oracle Arena against the Philadelphia 76ers. That happens to be the same record the Dubs had through 51 games last season, when Golden State was one of the feel-good stories of the 2012-13 season after not having reached the playoffs since 2007.
That Warrior team wound up 47-35, seeded sixth in the West, upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round and took the San Antonio Spurs to six games in the Western Conference semifinals before bowing out.
So some of what is surrounding the team right now is merely a byproduct of increased expectations. What was fantastic 12 months ago is feeling not good enough today.
The Sporting News, meanwhile, reported Monday that the Warriors are among a handful of teams that are in on Boston forward Brandon Bass. Writer Sean Deveney speculated that Golden State, while not being able to offer a first-round pick in 2014, could take on Bass’ contract in exchange for a package of young players including Festus Ezeli—who has yet to play this season while recovering from knee surgery—and rookies Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic.
Trading for Bass would push the Warriors over the luxury tax threshold.
“I don’t want to pay the luxury tax, nobody wants to,” owner Joe Lacob told Sporting News in the offseason. “That’s why it is a luxury tax, it is very punitive. But if it means winning vs. not winning, I choose winning. So that’s not an issue.”
While Bass would certainly improve the frontcourt depth, where the Warriors have gotten a disappointing 5.7 points per game and 40.8 percent shooting from free agent Marreese Speights, it has the feel of a panic deal.
That might not be the best idea for a team that has struggled with its depth all season.