Warriors

Jackson not making good on guarantees

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Jackson not making good on guarantees

All things being equal, you could make a case that Mark Jackson is doing a nice job for the Warriors in his initial season as coach. He has the team at 13-17 at the break, and by and large that record is pretty indicative of the type of talent and team they have.But all things are not equal.The reality is that Jackson should be held to a higher standard because he promised the standard would be raised. Guaranteed it as a matter of fact. So did owner Joe Lacob.
From the day Jackson was hired on June 6, he has talked in a big way about things such as accountability, changing the culture, doing things the right way and even making the playoffs. Jackson said things were going to be different.RELATED: Warriors midseason player grades
But the facts on the court say the Warriors are largely the same. Oh, they might be a little better defensively than they were last year, but overall Jackson has not gotten the Warriors to win at a higher rate than Keith Smart did a year ago.And, if anything, the Warriors have more talent on the roster this season. Theyre starting five is the same, but most acknowledge the bench in 2011-12 is a strength and superior to the substitutes of last season.Under Smart, the Warriors went 36-46 last season, a winning percentage of .439. This year under Jackson, the Warriors are winning at a .433 clip.In other words, Jacksons assurance on the day he was hired that things be changing in the Bay Area with the Warriors hasnt come to fruition.Now, on the one hand, Jackson has only coached 30 games and thats not a large sample size. On the other, the Warriors have had a very favorable first part of the schedule and thats about to change for the worse. There is a very real scenario in which the Warriors fall out of touch with .500.The Warriors finished 12th in the conference a year ago; theyre No. 12 in the conference right now.During interviews, Lacob frequently says that one of the areas where the Warriors are improved is in the coaching department. Again, that might be true, but there is no proof.Notwithstanding some nuance of style, you cant tell me the 2011-12 Warriors are noticeably better than the 2010-11 Warriors. And thats on Jackson.Because he promised better. There is still no evidence the Warriors are a playoff team, despite Jackson continuing to maintain they are. Truth be told, Jacksons bold words -- on the playoffs and other matters -- seem to be greeted with more and more skepticism, and that is not working in his favor.Of course, there is still time for the Warriors to make a second-half run and get into the postseason. But with each passing loss it seems to become more obvious that this is not a playoff team.For example, most playoff teams are better than 2-6 when it comes to three-point games and thats what the Warriors are. In some circles, that is a direct indictment of coaching.Now, nobody ever said the Warriors had the closers to win consistently in tight games, but thats not the point. Its that Jackson and this team should be judged as a playoff-type team because thats what Jackson said theyd be.But Jackson steadfastly maintaining the Warriors are a playoff team is only one of the things hes said this season that strains credulity.Hes also said the Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis is the best in the business and that hes content with what center Andris Biedrins has given the team this year.After Warriors rookie Klay Thompson failed to make the Rising Stars Challenge game, Jackson mocked the snub. He said there werent nine first-year players better than Thompson. And yet, the reality is that Thompson is 22nd among rookies in minutes played, indicating that Jackson, himself, might not believe in Thompson as much as he says.Jackson has said repeatedly that defense is the most important thing in his system and yet no player on the roster is favored more than David Lee, perhaps the teams most defensively challenged player. And yet Jacksons been hardest on Ekpe Udoh, the teams best interior defender.Jackson has begun to say more and more that making the Warriors better is a process. But anybody who has watched the Warriors in the past few years knew that already.Jackson came here and confidently proclaimed that the Warriors were a playoff team, and he did that on the day he was hired. But the bottom line is they dont look like one and their record, if anything, proves they arent.And thats on Jackson.

Swaggy 3s: Warriors send 'shoot it, shoot it, shoot it' message to Nick Young

Swaggy 3s: Warriors send 'shoot it, shoot it, shoot it' message to Nick Young

OAKLAND -- Meanwhile, the Warriors are preparing to defend their NBA championship.

With most inquiries and discussion over the past three days related to the growing conflict between President Donald Trump and professional athletes, with the Warriors being central to the topic, their first preseason game looms on Saturday.

If one thing rang clear after practice Sunday, it’s that coaches and players want Nick Young to be the shooter they wanted when they signed him in July.

Through the first two practices, Young has been such a reluctant shooter that Andre Iguodala and some of the incumbent Warriors have been urging him to shoot.

“I’ve been saying the same thing to Nick -- shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,” coach Steve Kerr said Sunday after practice. “The whole thing for any of our new guys to understand is we want the first good shot we can find. If we don’t have a good shot, try to get a great shot.

“Let’s keep the ball moving, but be aggressive and find that balance. I don’t want Nick out there thinking. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he should let it fly every time he’s open.”

Through the first two practices, it seems Young is more concerned with adapting to a new culture.

“I found myself passing a little bit more than normal today,” he said, chuckling. “It felt good, as long as I was getting some assists.”

That’s not why the Warriors hired the reserve guard after four seasons with the Lakers. Bench scoring was a visible weakness last season, and Young has averaged double figures in scoring in six of the last seven seasons.

He is particularly fond of the 3-point shot, having taken more triples than 2-point shots in each of the past two seasons. Young shot 40.4 percent from deep last season in Los Angeles.

Given the talent around Young now, and the fact that the 10-year veteran will be facing fellow reserves, he can expect to have even greater scoring opportunities.

“I’ve been getting a lot of open 3s,” Young said. “I’ve got to get used to not having somebody guarding me that much, get used to being in that corner for a while.”

In all likelihood, the Warriors won’t have to cajole Young much longer. He has developed during his 10-year career a reputation for chucking ‘em up. So, in all likelihood, the Warriors won’t have to do much more cajoling.

“Everybody’s going full speed,” Young said. “The more I get used to the plays, the more the shots will be open. I’m just in everybody’s way right now.”

Crucial to the cause, Warriors have a week to decide on anthem protest

Crucial to the cause, Warriors have a week to decide on anthem protest

OAKLAND -- The Warriors took note of the protests sweeping through the NFL on Sunday. They saw players dropping to their knees and raising fists during the national anthem as a way to spotlight the fight for equality.

“The NFL players are doing a great job of sending a great message,” forward Kevin Durant said Sunday after practice. “We stand behind them as athletes and we support them as well.”

As of Sunday afternoon, though, no decision had been made regarding any action they might take when the anthem is played before their preseason opener next Saturday at Oracle Arena.

“It’s not something we’re talking about right now,” coach Steve Kerr said.

“I don’t think we have to have stance on the anthem,” forward Andre Iguodala said.

Kerr, Durant and Iguodala are well aware that the Warriors were crucial to the cause that gained momentum this weekend. After President Donald Trump crudely urged NFL owners to fire any players that demonstrated during the anthem on Friday, he followed up on Saturday by scolding Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and announcing that the NBA champions would not be invited to the White House for the traditional celebration with the president.

Those two actions by Trump spurred players from the NFL and NBA, as well as owners and commissioners from both leagues, to respond to the president for his divisive rhetoric.

“I just don’t agree with our president that’s in office right now,” Durant said. “I don’t believe in what he believes in, and I’m all about equality. I’m not a real big politics guy, but I know right from wrong and I feel like I know how people are supposed to be treated. We don’t agree on those things.”

Though the demonstrations would like to send a message to Trump, they are more specifically directed toward two issues to which he has aligned: racism and police brutality. Those are the original causes for which former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee before every national anthem last season.

The Warriors have a week to decide what, if anything, they do the next time they take the court for the anthem.

“I don’t know . . . we know what’s going on, but we definitely want to stay locked in on our work,” Durant said. “But, also, we want to talk these things out. Our coaching staff and our organization (do) a great job of making sure we come together and (collaborate) on these topics and talk about these topics as a group.”