Mark Jackson

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The New York Times reports that after 3 years of service the Golden State Warriors have decided to sever ties with Mark Jackson. On Tuesday May 6, 2014, Mark Jackson was fired as head coach of the team, following a recent trend of firing successful coaches. Coach Jackson is coming off a strong season complete with 50 wins and a playoff berth that carried into a 7-game series with the Clippers that ended in defeat.

It has been reported that Coach Jackson was fired for more personal reasons than losing in the playoffs, though not winning a championship did play into his dismissal. That being said, the Warriors should have kept Mark Jackson. The coach lead the Warriors to back-to-back playoff runs, one ending in the second round and this year losing to the Clippers in the first round. Before analyzing Jackson’s coaching one should look at the personnel the team lacked during the last playoff run. Andrew Bogut was out due to a broken rib, leaving 6’9” inch forward David Lee to guard 6’11” center Deandre Jordan. This was just one of the matchup problems the Warriors faced against the Clippers. Forced to play small ball, the Clippers were just too much for the Warriors to handle.

According to Sports Illustrated, one of the reasons for Coach Jackson’s dismissal was his personality and lack of conventional coaching, as well as his relationship with the team’s owners. Over the past three years the relationship between Mark Jackson and the owners of the Warriors has been on a steady decline, as they believed Jackson was arrogant and not willing to listen or change. Yet in the words of Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, Mark Jackson was very successful in motivating his team, equipped with a “confidence… [that transferred] to his players”. Yet despite his motivational skills, Jackson lacks slightly in the coaching aspect of the game. After losing assistant Mike Malone, the Warriors offense declined in this latest season. Without a strong “X’s and O’s” minded assistant coach, Mark Jackson occasionally failed to make the right game time decisions.

Of course, some events were out of Mark Jackson’s control. He could not predict the injury to bigman Andrew Bogut or the bad calls made in crucial moments of the games.  It seems a wiser move to keep Mark Jackson rather than rework the coaching staff. Jackson works wonders to motivate his players and give them confidence, and with a little help on the game-planning side of the equation, the Warriors would be a title-contending team.

Written by Jacob Holdmann

Why He Deserved to be Fired

The friction between coach and owner covered up the real truth behind why Jackson was fired, which was the inability to win. Surely fans notice the obvious, which is that Warriors have been present in back-to-back playoff runs. However, the true goal of any NBA team is winning championships, which Mark Jackson was unable to fulfill.

Mistakenly, many people believe that the cause of the Warriors’ recent success is their offense. With the Splash Brothers’ extraordinary three-point making and the constant double-doubles made by David Lee, sportscasters are unable to avoid talking about their offensive productivity. However, the statistics prove that these presumptions are false. Though often overlooked, the Warriors have been thoroughly built on defense, ranking fourth in the league’s Defensive Rating by allowing 102.6 points per 100 possessions. On the other hand, they ranked twelfth offensively creating only 107.5 points per 100 possessions, which is barely above the league’s average.

With players like Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes, Mark Jackson could have exploited the talents at hand better than he did. Jackson relied heavily on isolation and post-ups rather than moving the ball and finding the open man. In many cases throughout the season, Jackson ordered the ball to move to the mismatch on the court, which made the players depend more so on the matchup then finding an easy lay-up or shot.

Nevertheless, Jackson used his bench players every game, which put him at a disadvantage. Every NBA team must play their bench players to give their starters rest, but Jackson was unable to have a consistent second-unit offense and relied much on Jordan Crawford to create points. Because of that, the bench lineup was unable to run any offense, resulting in many turnovers.

According to the SportUV tracking data, the Warriors are the third-slowest team to move the ball, which is not always a bad thing, but it is for the Warriors. With young talent like Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ players can endure a much more fast-paced game style than most teams, which is why slowing the offense down often hurt the team’s chances. However, coaching such high talent like the Warriors is a privilege, which is why owner Joe Lacob believes that he does not make a good fit to coach the team to a championship.

Written by Jay Na