April 26, 2011STEINMETZ ARCHIVEWARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEOMatt SteinmetzCSNBayArea.com
It's getting to be that time for Warriors coach Keith Smart.Owner Joe Lacob and general manager Larry Riley each indicated after the regular season concluded that they'd give the decision on whether to bring Smart back some time -- but not too much time.STEINMETZ: New GM-pair Riley and Myers meet press
Smart guided the Warriors to a 36-46 finish in 2010-11, taking over for Don Nelson less than a week before training camp began. The Warriors hold Smart's option for the 2011-12 season.STEINMETZ: Warriors Season in Review
On April 15 -- two days after the regular season finale, Riley talked about taking a week to 10 days before making a decision on Smart coming back. Lacob talked of the evaluation process taking two weeks or so, but did allow for more wiggle room.Regardless, we're getting closer.
Apparently, the decision isn't an easy one because it hasn't been made yet. Fair enough -- things aren't exactly clear cut when it comes to Smart.He largely met expectations -- neither underachieving nor overachieving -- and he was generally liked by the players. But there are certainly no assurances he can get the Warriors to the playoffs next season, something Lacob has promised to season-ticket holders.On the one hand, the Warriors made a 10-game improvement under Smart from the previous season. But that's less impressive when you consider the 2009-10 team was injury ravaged and relied significantly on more than a couple of D-League call-ups.Smart also got the Warriors to play hard for the entire season, something not to be taken for granted. Still, Smart received criticism during the season for his handling of second-year point guard Stephen Curry.As a practical matter, the specter of an NBA lockout also affects the situation. There is a very real threat of a truncated season or one canceled entirely, worst-case scenario. So, you could certainly make the case bringing back Smart -- already familiar with his core players and with a system in place -- makes sense. After all, why bring in a new coach for a short training camp and season or perhaps no season at all?However, conventional wisdom suggests Lacob very well may want to hire his own guy. Lacob has made no secret in his involvement in basketball decisions, and it would only seem natural he would want to hire his long-term coach of the future.