Kerr’s New Warriors

Today’s trend: Speak now, apologize later.

At least that’s what those infamous Sony execs whose emails were hacked decided to do.

And that’s the same defensive scheme that Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob drew up for himself after lambasting ousted head coach Mark Jackson at a recent venture capitalists luncheon.

In his extremely candid speech, Lacob lamented that “200 people in the organization didn’t like Jackson” and that the embattled coach, unlike his replacement Steve Kerr, refused to hire the best possible assistant coaching staff that would give the Warriors a true competitive chance to contend for a Title.

Spew hate publicly (or truth, depending on who you ask) then backtrack with a couple doses of “what had happened was.”

Lacob’s Apology

My first thought after learning of Lacob’s comments was, “you’ve gotta know a lot of people for 200 of them to NOT like you.”

Mark Jackson

My next thoughts were, “Mark Jackson coached the Warriors to their first 50 plus win season since the early 90s, and the players like him, so I smell a rat. And not the cute kind of rat that sneaks into your silverware drawer when you’ve been out of town for 8 days but the big, New York City gutter rat that’ll have a staring contest with you if you cross his path the wrong way.”

Seriously. Those were my literal thoughts when I read Lacob’s comments and when news broke earlier this year that the Warriors were letting go of Reverend Jackson.

Those Warriors, after all, under Jackson were forging legacies anew.

Wickedly fascinating perimeter-shooting from Splash Brothers Curry and Thompson (when they were “on” or not in foul trouble) awed even the most ardent “live by the 3, die by the 3” cynics. Those 2013-2014 Warriors were young and energetic, and when their big men were healthy — which, granted, seemed like never — they were one of the scariest teams in the West. Mark Jackson’s 6th seed team that gave the 3rd seed Clippers all they could handle in the 1st round was as full of playoff promise as it was with respect for Jackson as a leader.

Lacob, for his Mark Jackson smear campaign, was delusional. Or was he?

In this very young season under Kerr, this year’s Warriors’ early achievements include a 16-game winning streak and the boasting of an NBA top-ranked offense and defense. And if you and your buddies were in a dark alley going to battle with Kerr’s assistant coaching crew and escaping alive depended on which crew could draw up the best plays, you’d be out of luck because Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams are going to out-XandO you till the Chick-Fil-A cows come home.

Klay Thompson, before this year, was considered a one-dimensional, catch-and-shooter but is suddenly creating his own shots and is, lo and behold, becoming a facilitator, too. Overall ball movement is better. The Warrior defense is allowing opponents only about 39% of shots around the rim.  The fact that Kerr was savvy enough to reject Phil Jackson’s Knicks head coaching offer and its accompanying sinking ship proves that he’s one smart man.

Everything’s coming up Golden.

NBA: Preseason-Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors

Still, it’s unfair to discredit the foundation laid by Mark Jackson; 7 months after his ousting, players are still vocal in their support for him, so it’s evident he’s had a long-lasting impact on the franchise.

But as they say — and by “they,” I mean folks on Twitter — a good coach with a good record can stand in the way of you getting a great coach and an excellent record.

While it’s too early to say that Kerr hung the moon and the stars, with this franchise-best start, it’s safe to say that Lacob’s seething remarks have some merit.

Sorry, Mr. Jackson. These Warriors are for real.

 

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