Mark Jackson’s new job announcement as the Golden State Warriors head coach shed some light on the often-overshadowed Bay Area ball club. Having a sub-500 record with a disjointed cast will do that to you. However they’re a few steps away from turning things around.
The caveat lies in Jackson being untested at his capacity to coach at any level: let alone in the NBA. His long career provides plenty of guide points on proper play calling during key situations. However, respected players don’t always make for good coaches. It remains to be seen how he’ll fair but he could make his tenure efficient with a few starting points.
Mark Jackson’s first order of business involves pushing management to go for the oft-rumored Monta Ellis trade for Andre Igoudala. Monta’s a hell of a scorer but his style of basketball isn’t conducive towards the balanced approach GS can have. Iggy isn’t as gifted offensively but he makes up for it with consistent perimeter defense on the ball and in passing lanes. Defense creates offense, which GS already has in spades, so it only makes sense to make that deal happen.
Jackson would be best served refocusing GS’s efforts on the defensive end in general. You can’t win many basketball matchups playing half the game: as evidenced by their 36 wins last season. Therefore, changing the culture in the Bay could go a long way in making them a better ball club for years to come. They currently don’t have key individual defenders so going with the zone would be best. Granted, it’s unexpected for Mark to go with this style since he wasn’t a good defender in his playing days. But it’s a necessary step to take if he and his staff want to make a concerted effort to improve.
Finally, Mark needs to be a mentor to Stephen Curry. He could really boost the young point’s basketball I.Q. as a “big brother” since he played NBA ball for 17 years and is third all time in career assists. Curry can already score but Jackson can really bolster his ability to see the passing lanes, be a floor general and play up tempo basketball. This could be the key to Golden State’s success as the squad lacks a clear leader. Curry’s their best player Jackson ought to encourage him to embrace his role as an authoritative figure. Don Nelson and Keith Smart didn’t instill those values which contributed to Golden State’s woes in recent seasons.
Mark Jackson’s team, in all likelihood, won’t fulfill their lofty playoff appearance promise sent out to season ticket holders this year. What he and his players can do is pool their resources together and play tighter basketball for incremental increases in the win column. They’ll probably have growing pains in the beginning of the season but they could become a formidable crew once they gel. Either that or they spiral out of control and Jackson gets the axe. I’m rooting for the former of course but these things happen.