When Mark Jackson was fired as head coach of the Warriors at the conclusion of last season, part of the reason was the fact that the front office believed that the team should be better with the talent in place on the roster.
Jackson said as much following his dismissal.
“We accomplished a lot in three years and we should be proud,” Jackson said at the time. “I wish them nothing but the best. But to me, now the pressure’s on for them to get a championship. It’s not the time for them to be patient any more. This is a championship-caliber team. We were in the playoffs without David last year, and we were without Bogut this year.
“When this team is healthy, it is a legit contender. That’s something that we’re all looking at going forward.”
Jackson’s words turned out to be prophetic.
The Warriors aren’t only contenders for the title, they’re the favorites. Steve Kerr may have inherited a whole bunch of talent, but he’s guided the group to what is likely to be the league’s best record before the season is finished.
Whether that ultimately happens or it doesn’t, Kerr has already solidified his place in the record books as the winningest ever first-year head coach.
From The Associated Press:
The victory pushed him past Paul Westphal (Phoenix in 1992-93) and Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau (2010-11). The players gave Kerr the game ball and a Gatorade bath in the locker room.
“Great scene in there, and I wasn’t really thinking about the significance of the record,” Kerr said. “Those guys were. They presented me the ball, and how lucky am I to coach these guys in my first year? Ridiculous.”
Jackson may not have been the best fit to coach these Warriors, for a variety of reasons. But he was spot-on with his analysis of the talent the team has on the roster, and what it should be capable of when playing at 100 percent.