Keith Smart’s job was in danger the moment he signed a contract without a guaranteed second year.
Not that he had a lot of choice. And Smart knew if he did well enough he would be back. But there are plenty of people in the Bay Area that do not think he has done near enough, that this team underachieved. Because that Warriors roster is loaded with balanced talent… oh, wait a second.
Smart is on the hot seat and may well not be back next season, but he made his case to the San Francisco Chronicle of why he should stay.
“I would say that anywhere else, other than right here, people would look at it and say it was a good season,” Smart said before Sunday’s game against Sacramento. “I’ve done everything I could possibly do, and for some strange reason, people (don’t recognize it).
“Anywhere else in the country, people would say we are moving in the right direction….”
Smart laid out his personal evaluation. He said he has changed the climate of a previously poisonous locker room, pointing out that the team had fewer fines this season. Also, the team accepted forward Al Thornton’s late-season acquisition without worrying about losing minutes or shots.
The Warriors went into Sunday’s game 11 wins ahead of last season’s pace, an improvement that ranked behind only Chicago, San Antonio and New Jersey. Smart said he won more games than could have been expected with the Warriors’ roster, and playoff expectations were unrealistic as the team is currently constructed.
He’s right about that. Unless there was a tremendous revival of Andris Biedrins, and a few other breaks, this team was not playoff material. Their offense still remained strong — 108.1 points per 100 possessions this season and last — but their defense got a little better (110.6 points per 100 possessions this season compared to 111.7 last season). They also stopped playing at a reckless pace. But Smart’s use of Stephen Curry and the still unimpressive defense led to legitimate complaints. The question is how much could another coach have really done that was better.
That may not matter, it sounds more and more like owner Joe Lacob has his own plans. And Smart is not part of them.