Right now, Steve Kerr is in the middle of a grand honeymoon.
He came into Golden State and has run smarter sets, putting players in different roles and positions that play to their strengths much more than Mark Jackson did last year. Plus Kerr is getting them to play good defense (something Jackson did as well). The result is a 15-2 Warriors team on an 11 game winning streak. The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA so far and look like title contenders.
Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob is understandably happy. He took a lot of flak for firing Jackson after a good season, then bringing in another coach with no head coaching experience. Right now it looks like an inspired choice.
But there are still many who think Jackson should never have been let go after a 51-win season. Lacob was asked about the firing again and said this to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.
“Part of it was that he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization,” Lacob said. “And look, he did a great job, and I’ll always compliment him in many respects, but you can’t have 200 people in the organization not like you.”
This was the open secret around the league about Jackson. He had created an “us against the world” mentality in the locker room, which isn’t uncommon in professional sports but the “outside world” almost never includes management or others in the organization. It worked on the court and the players loved Jackson and played hard for him. But nobody gets to keep their job in any business when they piss off the big boss.
Jackson, to his credit, has not commented on this stuff in the past and has taken the high road when he did comment.
Lacob said one of the reasons this season has worked was Kerr has been willing to spend money on assistant coaches.
“And (Kerr) did the one big thing that I wanted more than anything else from Mark Jackson he just wouldn’t do, in all honesty, which is hire the very best. Carte blanche. Take my wallet. Do whatever it is to get the best assistants there are in the world. Period. End of story. Don’t want to hear it. And (Jackson’s) answer . . . was, ‘Well, I have the best staff.’ No you don’t. And so with Steve, very, very different.”
Kerr hired Alvin Gentry away from Doc Rivers’ staff to be the lead assistant and brought in another respected assistant in Ron Adams. Only one of Jackson’s five assistants still has an NBA job, Darren Erman, and he is one the team let go in the middle of last season for a violation of team rules.
Despite all this, Lacob knows professional sports is a bottom line business and as good as the Warriors look right now they are not near the bottom line.
“We’re on top of the world right now,” Lacob said. “If we lose in the first round of the playoffs, I am going to be crap (to the public).”