Danny LeRoux of Real GM asked Mark Jackson a question that was on quite a few minds in the aftermath of Golden State holding off the Portland Trailblazers. Danny wanted to know why Draymond Green wound up on Damian Lillard in a key late possession. Jackson dismissed the premise:

“He guarded him off the switch in the pick and roll. He wasn’t the primary defender against him.”

Granted, this wasn’t exactly like breaking down The Triangle on a granular level, but it’s indicative of how Jackson has grown increasingly lucid in publicly discussing matters strategic. Last year’s press conferences trafficked in emotion and motivation. Those elements still exist, but Jackson has inched towards O’s and X’s. It’s a development I’ve liked, and one at odds with his old reputation as a guy who bellows catch phrases.

Mark Jackson is getting comfortable in explaining his role as coach. He wants to be seen as a motivator, but you can’t watch him manage a game, and talk about a game, without believing that he has a grasp on the schematics. This has been a welcome evolution from last year and a welcome change from Keith “he’s a nice guy” Smart.

Those O’s and X’s were mixed with a political strain, though. Mark Jackson is protective of his players’ reputations, and later shifted from talking about Draymond to extolling the virtues of his starters:

“I’ve got better options {than Green} with all due respect. Steph Curry is a big time defensive point guard. I thought Klay did a very good job minus the one, quick score out of a timeout.”

I don’t think anyone was getting the blame for Lillard’s performance regardless. The kid flaunted incredible talent while hitting some ridiculous shots. In the flurry he unleashed against (mostly Jarrett Jack), Lillard took what are usually “bad” shots. Except, you had to consider the context. Nothing else was working for Portland, and Damian Lillard hero ball was a preferable option on this night.

Back to Draymond Green, who’s the rare rookie who can play some defense. I asked him about guarding Lillard and about guarding PGs in general.

“I can use my length on them. There are a lot of great point guards, and I can’t keep up with all of them for every play, but for the most part, I can use my length, so maybe I can make them take an extra step, as opposed to having to press up.”

Though Green wound up on Lillard on a switch, he could easily be the kind of wing defender who guards point guards at the end of games. This wing-on-PG tactic is becoming popular with coaches around the league. I’m not sure why teams don’t try it for entire games, but it’s often an effective tactic when deployed.

Your Blair Witch Shaky Cam Interview Question for Stephen Curry

Steph’s been hitting guys with his oft-maligned one-hand passes lately. Curry sometimes coughs the ball up on one-handed passes and it’s caused certain (announcer) pundits to declare that he shouldn’t use this style. I asked Curry for his take:

  • David Lee bounced back from two bad games, and played an understatedly fantastic one, both defensively and offensively. Again, he should be an All Star.
  • The aforementioned Curry had a rough shooting performance and shot hunted just a bit.
  • Klay Thompson is passing off the dribble more. He might be figuring out the blurry line between “appropriately aggressive” and “gunning.”
  • Harrison Barnes continues to tantalize in brief spurts. Barnes continues to be the king of, “Yes, do that, but more of it.”