Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• Warriors’ insider Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com has a theory: conservative Christian preacher Mark Jackson was fired because of his religion.
After examining the move from 360 angles and connecting the dots, I keep returning to the same theory. Though the Warriors likely were dissatisfied with certain elements of Coach Jackson’s job performance, they most assuredly were nervous about the Rev. Jackson’s Christianity and the tenets within.
The theory is that the Warriors are trying to get a new arena built in gay-friendly, liberal San Francisco and that having the religious conservative Jackson as a face of the franchise could hurt that cause.
Do I think that was part of it? Yes. But it was one ingredient in a large stew of issues that over time cooked itself into a huge culture gap between management and Jackson. That gap led to him being let go, and the issues were not new or secret. Jackson did things his own way, cost the team money in banished assistant coaches, set up an “us against the world” locker room mentality that included management as the world, Jackson spent a lot of time in Los Angeles at his ministry (yes, in season), the backgrounds of Jackson and management were very different, and there was just a gap in communication and styles between Jackson and ownership. Plus there were on the court issues — the Warriors offense was not what it should have been with all that firepower.
Jackson’s supporters have some legitimate beefs with the change. For one, the players love him and the team played very hard for Jackson. They improved each year under him. And there is the serious question of why Jackson could only get four years, $8 million in a coaching deal while Steve Kerr, also coming straight out of the broadcast booth without bench experience, got five years, $25 million.
The owner is the owner and it’s his prerogative to make a change. That’s the real bottom line. To try and pin the firing on religion or any one thing is to really miss what was a much larger, more complex issue.
• Adding to Paul George’s bad summer, a judge just called him out in a child support case with a baby mama of his.
• Matt Bonner and the analytics of sandwiches. He is one of the best interviews in the NBA.
• Building NBA arenas in Minecraft? We got that.
• Lance Stephenson with a dolphin? We got that.
• If you want to throw some fuel on the Kevin Durant to the Wizards fire there is this: KD was given a game ball from Washington owner Daniel Snyder following Sunday’s Jaguars at Redskins game.
• John Wall was an All-Star last season. It’s going to be difficult for him to repeat that feat.
• One reason it will be hard for Wall is that Kyle Lowry deserves a turn in that spotlight.
• Here’s a Q&A with Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan. He’s in a contract year so expect big things.
• Shaquille O’Neal curated an art show.
• How much is Kemba Walker worth as a free agent next summer?
• Finally, we leave you with one serious basketball brawl from the Filipino NCAA tournament in Manila (they called the game after this).