Mark Jackson

Every now and then, we will tackle a topic that is largely discussed in the Warriors World Forums.  

Throughout the course of the season, one topic has consistently come across in the Warriors World forums: Mark Jackson is the wrong coach for the Golden State Warriors.

This is not the case of an overzealous fan base wishing to jettison their headman simply because there is a Hall of Fame coach waiting to take the job over. Rather, Jackson has consistently made moves that have irked the Warriors faithful this season because they have affected the team’s chances at winning.

To be fair, Jackson is responsible for leading the Dubs into the 2013 postseason and getting them within striking distance of one of the top-four records in the Western Conference this season. Thus, clearly he is doing something right.

Nonetheless, some of the concerns raised about the team are warranted. For instance, in the 50th episode of the Warriors World podcast, super fan Mike McGuiness raised the issue that he despises the power play substitutions.

This criticism of Jackson is fair given that he removes all five players that have developed a feel for the rhythm of the game and replaces them by reserves who have barely gotten their legs warmed up.

What’s more, Jackson has thrust the likes of Kent Bazemore into the role of backup point guard all the while ignoring the fact that the position requires some level of expertise in dribbling the ball against pressure defense.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe offered this appraisal of the reserve’s game:

Kent Bazemore, the most famous Las Vegas Summer League star, has never proven he can shoot from deep or be trusted with the ball in the real NBA. There were times this season when he struggled just to get it over half court and/or throw a simple entry pass. He appears to be a defensive specialist capable of extended minutes when he’s rolling a bit, but not a backup point guard.

This partly explains some of the failures of Golden State’s reserves. They have been one of worst second units in the league, but an argument could be made that this is the result of their deployment.

For instance, Tim Greene already documented with great depth that the use of Toney Douglas was less than ideal when factoring in his strengths. And yet, instead of acknowledging these issues, the team simply traded him away.

As’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss put it, the transaction itself made sense, but the methodology leaves much to be desired:

Instead, Mark Jackson tapped Douglas to run a bench unit deprived of helpful offensive players. He was set up to fail and did so spectacularly. Those who watched Douglas on the New York Knicks could have confidently predicted this. To summarize, the Warriors used their new acquisition wrong, then traded his diminished value before the All-Star break.

If left unchecked, this has the potential to blow up in the coaching staff’s face. Take it from someone that has won back-to-back titles for a marquee NBA team. Dan Hyde of the Sun Sentinel relayed the thoughts of Erik Spoelstra prior to the start of the 2013-14 season:

“Building habits,” Spoelstra says, is what the endless regular season is about. Habits are key. Habits are necessary, he says. It’s trite and coachspeak, but maybe it’s really what Van Gundy was getting at in charting the Heat coach’s path.

In the case of the Warriors, Jackson has developed some questionable habits and well, the team is slowly getting adjusted to them. The line shifts are frustrating in their own right, but that is hardly the lone gripe with Jackson.

He has fallen in love with his offense to the detriment of his defense. Andrew Bogut is missing out on key fourth-quarter stretches because the coaching staff prefers to spread the court out with shooters and allow David Lee to go to work on the interior.

The strategy has its merits as far as scoring goes, but the Warriors cannot seem to stop anyone in the game’s final period. Indeed, tells us that the fourth quarter is the frame in which the Warriors allow the most points per 100 possessions so far this season.

Not so coincidentally, the fourth quarter is also the period in which Bogut sees the least amount of minutes according to It’s quite possible that Jackson is merely using the regular season as his own laboratory.

Using a multitude of lineups and changing things up can certainly help in terms of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various groups once the postseason rolls around. Still, one cannot escape the feeling that some opposing coaches offer better in-game tactical adjustments whereas Jackson relies mostly on his basketball ideology.

The perfect example of this came in a defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. With Brian Shaw instructing his team to switch on all pick-and-rolls, the Dubs attacked Ty Lawson and forced him to defend David Lee, who repeatedly manhandled him.

In the game’s most important possession (with Golden State trailing by a point), Shaw changed the assignments and had Wilson Chandler defend Stephen Curry from the outset while Lawson defended Harrison Barnes.

Instead of going to Barnes or potentially having the former North Carolina Tar Heel run the same pick-and-roll play with Lee, the Warriors chose instead to run the action with Curry and Lee.

Curry got matched up with J.J. Hickson who promptly stole the ball from the Dubs’ guard and scored a backbreaking dunk that helped close out the game.

Simply put, the Warriors are not getting the most out of their players and well, that is up to the coach. The title picture will only get cloudier from here on out unless Golden State gets better directives from its headman.

Otherwise, talent can only take you so far…

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].

13 Responses

  1. Tim

    Well said. Also gently said. To me Jackson is the wrong hire period. He is a preacher not a teacher. Coaches teach. Look at Bo Ryan at UW. The Badgers dropped 15 points behind a talented Florida team in Madison while in the stands scouts took notes on all the future NBA draft picks on the Florida team By end of the game the Badgers were on top by a good margin and all the NBA wannabes went home with a loss. That’s coaching. Nellie had SC at an all star level his Rookie year and now it has take 3 years for him to return to that level. This year Barnes has regressed. AI the big sign of the summer seems like a fish out of water. He has athletic skills that show up only in the uptempo style of Karl and Nellie. He can finish but he can’t shoot. Defensively he seems like an old 29. He does not shut down anyone anymore, Durant eats him alive. And so do others. He gets a hand in the passing lane which is good. But…Landry, Jack, 2 number ones, AB and Jefferson is just too much for what he gives. That said with Nellie this team would rock. Also the second unit idea is stupid. The announcers on ESPN Of which Jackson was one kept referring to Dock Rivers second unit idea at Boston and somehow this got into Jackson’s head as a good idea. Nellie would have an 8 man rotation with big minutes and less for a few players. That is how the Celts and Lakers did it for years. Also Nellie would never use Bazemore as a Point guard, that destroyed his confidence. Management made some bad decisions with respect to AI and Jack. But with a healthy Bogut, experience, an improved Barnes and Klay, this team should be putting up Pizza numbers. 120 as I recall. Bring back Nellie or hire Karl and see what happens. I think the owners will be happy.

  2. afannaz

    why, in the 4th qtr, would you sit the main guy (bogut, of course) who stops the other team from scoring? and you can’t trust any of the backups, except maybe draymond to do anything on either side of the ball. the W’s still need something, something is missing somewhere. and jackson is so deliberate and predictable with these moves, or lack thereof, that teams must be able to plan for what he’s going to do in certain situations. come on jackson, go Warriors!

  3. Kemala Martin

    Jackson says over and over again that we’re a defensive team but leaves bogut out of the 4th quarter in games that are close. Finally in todays game against the pelicans he played the 4th and was getting blocks rebounds, tipping back missed shots and controlling the paint, I hope Jackson sticks to this and stops clearing the bench in close games

  4. RJ

    we’re blaming Jackson because Steph got picked clean by JJ Hickson? the Dubs have gotten fat & sassy reading their press clippings about being a contender. they came out flat at home coming off the extremely rare 4-day break. they played like they expected Denver to hand them the game because, well…the Dubs are contenders.

    the Warriors are young, too careless with the ball and have much to learn on their way to competing at the highest levels. their coach is growing with them and they’ll be fine. it’s funny how quickly folks have forgotten how bad it’s been here for a very long time.

  5. El Diablo

    Keep Jackson, the players seem to like him.

    Just hire offence and defence coaches who make game decisions

    Maybe hire a substitution coach as well

  6. rod marshall

    Mark Jackson seems like a nice guy////however he reacts to what other coaches do and thefore weakens his own team by making unnecessary substitutions..why sub all five staters ?why not try curry and bogut with 3 bench players//no .he coaches like a robot without out much thought to creating opportunities for is team ..he is a reactive coach or what some would call as a book coach

  7. Wil

    I totally agree with Mark Jackson, he normally gets outcoached by the opposing teams, what has gotten our wins have been our pure talent, but us losing leads because of the misuse of the bench is unacceptable and it should rest primarly on the head coach. When we are losing leads, the coach should call time outs to stop the bleeding and reassert and shuffle the correct line up. Is also Mark Jackson’s fault that he has given the green light to Draymmond Green and Ken BAzemore to be shooting ill advise shots and that has also made lose leads. Sure Draymmond makes occasional threes, and Ken Bazemore just can’t shoot for the life of him and he still keeps on shooting. The bench should know their role and Ken and Draymmond are not shooters, nor scorers. Ken should just take it to the hoop more than shoot from the outside and stick to his strength defense, the same for Draymond. Coack Mark tends to forget who is on his bench and doesn’t give enough time to Harrison Barnes to get in rythm and that’s why Barnes has struggled coming out from the bench this year, but even so, Harrison Barnes has held his own. We should hire Lionel Hollins, the Memphis ex coach. I still thought we should have hired Mike Malone instead of Jackson this year. i COULD GO ON AND ON ABOUT MARK JACKSON’S MISS HANDLING OF THE TEAM THAT HAVE COST US GAMES.

  8. @Tanno24

    Jackson’s rotations kill me. Putting the bench on kills momentum and then puts the team in a hole. This in turn tires the starters who have to put in much more effort to get the game back on track in the 3rd quarter. I think that’s another reason why the Warriors give up more points in the fourth quarter.

    Another thing that frustrates me about Jackson is that he reacts to what the other team does. For example, if the opposition goes small, then he feels he needs to counter that by going small as well. He really needs to set the tempo and make other teams react to what the Warriors are doing. He’s just playing into the other teams’ hands.

    Hopefully Crawford will mitigate some of the damage of the full bench squad, or at least keep the game even while the starters rest.

    • Wil


  9. dubnation

    It’s kind of amazing how badly written this is but not as bad as the other writer Jordan Ramirez as he clearly has no idea what he is talking about and has no basketball background whatsoever.

    Barnes is not the player Warrior fans see him to be. He is always guarded by the worst defender from the opposing side and he would be out of this league if he was unable to put up the meager numbers he puts up anyways. Why would you run the pick and roll with Barnes and Lee when Barnes is not a threat because teams would not blitz him like they do with Curry because of his inability to dribble. Good job. And post up Barnes against Ty? There is probably a better chance of Barnes just throwing up a wild shot at crunch time so I would rather have it in the hands of Curry. Barnes with that stupid foul? Miserable. Steph couldve easily taken Hickson off the dribble but because of fatigue from playing almost the entire 2nd half I’m sure it hit him and it was just a sloppy turnover.

    Mark Jackson is to blame a lot but quite the opposite of what you say. Putting Bogut in when we are down a bunch of points? Bogut is a liability on offense and doesn’t look to score and can’t score so we are essentially playing 4 on 5. He can’t run the pick and roll and when he does Curry gets the hell blitzed out of him which results in a turnover that is why we run David Lee at the 5 and they have the sweetest pick and roll combo there is in the NBA today. Jackson should have put Bogut in before that last possession when JJ Hickson made that shot over Barnes so that is solely based on coaching errors but having Bogut put in with major minutes? The Warriors would not be able to score and their defense would not be much better. It could be seen in yesterdays game when they ran pick and roll with Boguts man and whoever the person handling the ball was easily shot an uncontested mid range jumper because Bogut cannot come out due to his physical inability.

    Next time you write an article look at all sides of the game not just one. Warriorsworld is a bunch of biased no basketball IQ writers. It is a shame that you are affiliate with ESPN.

    • El Diablo

      Bah you don’t know what your talking about. Bogut is NOT a liability on offence

      Bogut is extremely disciplined and serious about the role he is asked to play.

      How many plays do they run for him? the Andre slip Alley Oop? One post up a game?

      It is a conscious decision not to hedge the screen and has worked most of the season.

      Which is better in your estimation?

      1. Shooting a semi-contested shot from near 3 in the final quarter? or
      2. Shooting an uncontested shot inside the key in the final quarter.

      If you answer number 1 then you know NOTHING about basketball

      If Hickson is in the game then you can G^&AMN have Bogut in the game he is not a good jumpshooter

  10. Jim Del Favero

    Jackson’s substitutions are maddening the hockey like line changes destroy all rhythm to the game and leave a dearth of skilled playmaker on the floor. It shouldn’t be shocking that they blow leads, try taking out one or two key players and leaving in someone that can take a shot, or make a pass.

  11. JBT

    George Karl is available. We can always fire Jackson just like Nuggets did to Karl after making the playoffs.