The Warriors have fallen short of expectations this year as they settle into sixth place in the Western Conference. The Mark Jackson and Stephen Curry-led group has struggled at times offensively even with the addition of Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut’s return to health. That has been the big surprise.
The Warriors have won 10 games in a row and lost plenty of games too. They have settled in now.
But after taking the Spurs to six games, many believed the Warriors would take the next step. Owner Joe Lacob certainly spent the money to do so in acquiring Iguodala through free agency. That has not happened. Fingers are going to be pointed.
So the odd removal of Brian Scalabrine (he was re-assigned to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Calif.) reported earlier this week by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports raised plenty of eyebrows. Even more than that, was the report embedded in there that Jackson would go months without talking to lead assistant Michael Malone, a claim both Malone and Jackson denied.
That has raised questions about the faith the Warriors have in their coach. Stephen Curry came out publicly staunchly in support of his coach. Ownership? We are still waiting to hear some type of support from them.
That lack of response has Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News speculating:
Once again, Warriors management has decided not to publicly support Jackson. That trend isn’t lost on a few players who staunchly supports their coach. A few players expressed the dismay at the lack of favor Jackson has despite the success he’s enjoyed the last two seasons. They see that Jackson simply had the final of his year picked up and was not given his extension. They took note when co-owner Joe Lacob told Tim Kawakami he was disappointed and had some concerns about Jackson. And while Jackson has been constantly under attack, they’ve noticed no one has come out to Jackson’s defense.
That does not sound like a healthy organization. Not one that is on the precipice of winning a championship like Golden State wants to be.
Some patience is likely needed though. Jackson is coaching an entirely new team from the one that finished sixth last year and surprised with their run to the conference semifinals. This team was either going to make that big burst forward or they were going to falter a bit. The young team faltered a bit as Curry came into his own and players tried to define their roles and deal with the problems of expectation.
Golden State will survive this season and make the Playoffs. The question is what do the Warriors do in the summer.
A Playoff disaster — losing in the first round in embarrassing fashion, especially — could result in these questions about Mark Jackson getting louder. Louder to the point that the 2015 season might become a must-succeed for him and the Warriors. At some point, they will have to take that step toward a championship or go in a different direction.