Former Golden State Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine recently went on the The Doug Gottlieb Show and discussed Mark Jackson‘s coaching, Stephen Curry‘s defense, Harrison Barnes‘ potential, and the Warriors’ involvement in trade rumors for Kevin Love.
After Scalabrine was reassigned during this past season, rumors started to surface about how he didn’t get along with former Warriors’ head coach Jackson. Based on this latest interview and a report by Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group, it appears as if Scalabrine didn’t agree with Jackson’s coaching, in terms of basketball philosophy and team preparation.
“We had a very difference of opinion as far as what it takes to push and win a championship,” said Scalabrine, who as a player won an NBA title with Boston. “I don’t think championships are given out. I think championships are earned, and I just felt like along the way we thought…something was going to happen. Like it’s OK to be average. It’s OK to be .500. It’s OK to be an eighth seed, ninth seed, or move our way up to a sixth seed. I mean, that’s just not the right mentality if you’re trying to win with a team with a lot of young players.
“Generally, as a staff we really didn’t prepare our team to be championship-caliber nor did we prepare our team to eventually be championship-caliber.
“I respected him as a head coach going into that, but after a while, it was just like us not doing what I would feel like our job is. It was just kind of frustrating.”
When giving an example of how he disagreed with Jackson’s philosophies, Scalabrine pointed to Jackson’s tendency to “hide” Curry defensively and, instead, have Klay Thompson guard an elite opposing point guard.
Scalabrine claimed that Curry wanted to guard top point guards such as Tony Parker and Chris Paul, but Jackson didn’t want to challenge him and possibly exhaust him so much on the defensive end that he wouldn’t produce at the same rate offensively.
He also believes that Curry is a championship-caliber point guard, if placed in the right system and utilized by his coach in the right way.
Another player that Scalabrine believes that Jackson didn’t utilize properly was Barnes. He called Barnes an elite player, along with Thompson.
However, Scalabrine said he ultimately believed that the Warriors should’ve included Thompson in a potential trade for Love, despite Thompson’s talent and potential.
“My only knock on Kevin Love is I just think he’s never played with a great shot-blocking center, and Andrew Bogut is a great shot-blocking center,” Scalabrine said. “I’m not saying I’m right. Everyone has their own opinion. I personally would have made the move and then tried to convince a Mike Miller or a Ray Allen or some kind of shooting guard, try to trade for Kyle Korver, try to replace that shooting from Klay Thompson.
“Put Kevin Love with a shot-blocking center, a lot of his defensive errors are just based on size and athletic ability. Personally, I would have done it because I think Kevin Love really is a game-changer when he has a guy like Steph Curry with him or a guy that can create shots for him.”
Some of these comments might sound like it’s just a former employee complaining about his former boss and organization, but Scalabrine might have brought up some legitimate points, even if it wasn’t necessarily said in the most eloquent and professional way.
The Warriors’ offense last year was extremely disappointing last season, especially given the amount of talent that was on the roster with Curry, Thompson, Barnes, David Lee, and even Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala. The fact that the Warriors ranked just 10th in the NBA in points per game at 104.3 last season was embarrasing, and the culprit of this poor offensive output could very well have been the coaching staff.
It’ll be interesting to see what new head coach Steve Kerr does for the Warriors’ offense and what he does in terms of player development for players such as Curry, Thompson, Barnes, and Draymond Green.