The Golden State Warriors made the obvious move on Wednesday, picking up the team option on Mark Jackson’s 2014-15 contract. You could say that it was inevitable.
Jackson replaced Keith Smart as Golden State’s head coach in the shortened 2011-12 season. The team had had a winning season since 2007-08 under Don Nelson, and the trend continued, as the Warriors went 23-43 in the first season under Jackson.
The rookie coach wasn’t entirely at fault. Stephen Curry was in a suit more than he was on the court, and he was without a capable center. Golden State acquired Andrew Bogut in March, sending away Monta Ellis, their only form of entertainment, while Bogut sat out the rest of the season. The injury plagued center also missed the majority of the first half of the 2012-13 campaign.
Jackson then revitalized the franchise in his second year. The Warriors went 47-35, good enough for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. They beat the Denver Nuggets in the first round and put up a good fight against the Spurs in the Semifinals. The culture had changed. Golden State is now a free-agent destination. They added Andre Iguodala and made an impression on Dwight Howard.
That type of stuff wasn’t supposed to happen, at least in the near future. But Jackson, along with Bob Myers and Joe Lacob, has quickly turned around the franchise.