The Golden State Warriors have gone through some significant changes already this offseason. Right after their first round loss in the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors’ front office decided to fire Mark Jackson.
After his dismissal, passionate discussions ensued among Warriors fans about Mark Jackson’s coaching. Some fans thought that Jackson’s coaching and offensive philosophies weren’t right for the Warriors. Some fans thought that his personality wasn’t a good fit for the Warriors. Some fans thought he deserved to be fired because of his comments about homosexuality in the NBA.
Some fans thought that Jackson might have been fired because of his religious views. Some fans thought that since Jackson helped turn the Warriors franchise around, he deserved to remain as head coach. Some fans thought that it wasn’t smart to fire Jackson after the face of the franchise, Stephen Curry, was very vocal about his support for Jackson and his desire for Jackson to remain head coach.
In addition to fans voicing their opinions, some of the Warriors players spoke about their thoughts on the firing of Coach Jackson, such as Curry and Andre Iguodala. Most of them took a while to share their opinions, because some of them said that the firing came as a shock. Many of them had greatly supported Jackson in his tenure with the Warriors, and despite some well-constructed statements, it was clear that most of them were positive about the Warriors’ direction in the future but weren’t too happy that Jackson was gone.
Whether or not firing Jackson was the wrong move or not is still to be determined, but Warriors fans need to move on from Jackson. Whether fans liked him or not, Warriors fans need to stop talking about Coach Jackson. They need to stop over-analyzing what Jackson did or didn’t do well last season and, instead, focus on the future of this franchise. The Coach Jackson era is done for the Warriors, so it’s time to move on.
Instead of dwelling on the past, Warriors fans should focus on the positives heading into next season. For example, the Warriors have one of the best young cores in the NBA. The Curry-Klay Thompson backcourt is one of the best backcourts in the NBA, Iguodala adds an elite perimeter defender, a clutch performer, and a legitimate threat in the open court to the team, and Draymond Green can do a little bit of everything.
It remains to be seen if Harrison Barnes or David Lee will be traded, but they’re valuable assets to the team as well. Barnes adds athleticism, and the Lee/Andrew Bogut backcourt gives the Warriors consistent rebounding. The Warriors still have to add a few pieces in the offseason, but they have a solid core group of players with a wide variety of skills.
In addition to their solid core, the Warriors have an intriguing new head coach in Steve Kerr. He doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but he has a high level of basketball knowledge because he’s played for great coaches such as Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. He also is one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, so it will be great to see what he can do with Curry and Thompson.
Kerr could really help improve the Warriors’ offense this upcoming season. It’s unclear if he’ll implement the triangle offense, but, regardless, he could certainly help improve their ball movement. He needs to implement a system that takes advantage of Curry and Thompson’s shooting, Iguodala and Barnes’ athleticism, and Lee and Bogut’s passing. If he can create more offensive chemistry between this team and bring out the best of those players, the Warriors will be much better off.
Kerr should look for offensive inspiration in the team representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs. Kerr has played for Popovich, so he knows the system already. It’s predicated on constant ball movement and perfect execution. The Spurs break down defenses with their quick passes, decisive moves, and their ability to find not just a good shot or great shot but the best shot.
Bob Myers discussed his deep respect for the Spurs recently in an interview with KGO, and he even said the Spurs are what the Warriors want to be on and off the court.
Bob Myers told KGO the Spurs are a “paragon” of what the Warriors want to be. “If we could be half as much as them,” Myers said.
— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) June 6, 2014
If the Warriors ran and executed an offensive system close to what the Spurs run and if they continued to play their stellar defense from last season, they would be a legitimate title contender in the NBA.
Obviously Kerr needs to also find a way to get this Warriors team to continue to consistently play the high level of defense that they played last season. Their defensive philosophy and system is already in place, but he needs to fine-tune it and perfect it.
Kerr certainly has a lot to prove this upcoming season. Several Warriors players, including some of Jackson’s strongest supporters, have said that they believe Kerr will be a great coach though.
When asked about the Warriors’ coaching situation, Thompson recently said:
“The thing about the Warriors is, we want to win. Steve I know is going to take us there, and we’re only going to get better.”
“That’s always a good sign,” Bogut said. “He seems like a very knowledgeable guy. Obviously, he’s a very, very good commentator. You can tell he’s got a high IQ just by listening to his games. But obviously the question that everyone’s asking is the coaching experience thing.
“But I don’t see him as having a huge ego or anything like that, so I think he’ll probably hire some assistants that can definitely help him carry the load in his first year as a coach, and I think he’ll be great for us.”
Festus Ezeli has also said that he met Kerr recently, and he’s excited about the hire:
“He knows what I bring to the table, and he’s excited to coach me,” Ezeli said. “I’m excited for a new year to actually finally be playing. It’s going to be fun.
“We’ve got to buy into Steve Kerr because we all want to win, so I know we’ll all do that.”
Even though the firing of Jackson was tough on Curry, he also shared his optimism about what Kerr can bring to the Warriors with Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group.
“Just like with any new coach, you have to feel it out, and it will probably be a little different. We just have to adjust, but at the end of the day, all the guys in the locker room are trying to win, and I know Steve Kerr has that mentality and mission as well.
“If those two things are aligned, then we’ll be fine.”
Hopefully for Warriors fans, the Warriors make a smooth transition from Jackson’s coaching to Kerr’s coaching. Many Warriors players have accepted and are excited about Kerr being the new head coach. Now it’s time for Warriors fans to do the same.
The Coach Jackson era is over, and whether that was the right or wrong decision, fans need to move on. This is the start of a new era and new culture for the Warriors.