The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors are sailing up the list of the best NBA teams of all time. The team has won an insane 20 straight games to begin the year, and if they keep up their current form, it’s hard to imagine them losing any time soon – there’s even a chance that the squad takes a 28-0 record into its Christmas Day showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Golden State is also in kind of a weird spot, because it has been coached by an assistant all year. While Steve Kerr is out for an unknown period of time as he’s recovering from back surgery, assistant coach Luke Walton is in charge. Some people feel compelled to argue whether Kerr or Walton deserve credit for the team’s success – Kerr because he installed the offensive and defensive systems last year that turned this team into a juggernaut, Walton because he’s at the helm now. It’s been a silly back-and-forth, but it’s one that exists nonetheless.
One person has an opinion on this debate: noted opinion-haver Stephen A. Smith. ESPN’s professional hot take distributor thinks that Mark Jackson, who coached the team from 2011-2014, deserves way more credit than Walton and Kerr for this team’s success.
Okay, so, let’s take a moment to remember that Jackson and Smith are co-workers at ESPN, that Smith was totally wrong about Kerr’s ability as an NBA head coach, and that he has spent time over the last few months going after Kerr’s coaching ability anyway, ostensibly because he wants to save face after being proven wrong for his comments prior to the 2014-15 season.
Now that that’s out of the way, the crux of Smith’s argument is that Jackson built this Warriors team. He believes that with how well guys like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have developed, Jackson deserves the lion’s share of credit for this team’s success. In a way, Smith makes sense. Curry was already in the league by the time Jackson was hired, while Thompson and Green were drafted during Jackson’s tenure.