Time just seems to move faster in the NBA. Players move, rules change and coaches get fired. Just ask Mark Jackson, who in one year’s time went from being one of the Association’s brightest young coaches to currently unemployed.
USA Today has the details:
The Warriors were 51-31 this season and that was the best regular season record since the 1991-92, when they were 55-27. That was also the last time the Warriors reached the playoffs two consecutive seasons.
Jackson had one year left on his contract.
“Mark Jackson has had a big impact on the improvement of our team and the success that we’ve had over the last couple of years,” said Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob. “Nonetheless, we must make some difficult decisions in our day-to-day operations of the club and this would certainly qualify as one of those examples. We wish Mark the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions over the last three years.”
The move wasn’t without precedence. Despite Golden State’s stellar regular season record and abundance of young talent, this was a team that had to answer to its fair share of off-season distractions, many of which stemmed from Jackson himself. If it wasn’t Brian Scalabrinegate, it was secret audio recordings going on within the locker room. The more we heard, the worse things looked behind the scenes, to the point where one could reasonably say that the team was winning despite Jackson and his off-court distractions.
And consider the talent on the roster. When healthy (and that’s obviously a a pretty big “when”), the Warriors boasted one of the best starting rotations in basketball: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Harrison Barnes, Draymond Greene and Steve Blake gave them solid depth. Sure, a sturdier inside presence would solidify things a bit, but this isn’t a team lacking in ability or identity. Jackson had the keys to a very nice car but couldn’t optimize it.
Cue the coaching search speculation, and the “what next for Mark Jackson?” pieces. They’ll definitely be stories to keep tabs on.