In wake of Mark Jackson’s firing, let’s not forget that the Golden State Warriors’ front office is accustomed to making jarring decisions.
Their first controversial move came during Jackson’s first coaching season in which they traded fan-favorite Monta Ellis for a then-injured Andrew Bogut. The trade was greeted with extreme fan disdain that echoed throughout the entire Bay Area. Two years later, the trade added Bogut, who was integral in the team’s defensive transition, and allowed Klay Thompson to emerge into a legitimate NBA shooting guard. In other words, the move was an absolute success that transitioned fans boos to cheers.
I can’t help but liken the above situation with that of Jackson’s firing. Fans and players love Jackson because of his inspirational message and motivational attitude. His talents are what made him such an incredible television personality, spouting clever catch phrases during nationally broadcasted games. It would be difficult to find someone who has met Jackson that does not like him as a person. In a way, it is similar to why fans loved Ellis so much. Ellis flew around the court, made difficult shots, and made the Warriors fun to watch. Both individuals were ascetically pleasing to a casual fan. However, the goal of this front office group is not to have a franchise that is fun to watch, but a franchise that is consistently competing for a championship. And if this front office sees an area in which progress towards that goal is inhibited, popular or not, they are going to make the necessary changes to achieve that goal.
So my request to Warrior fans, casual or hardcore, is to trust that the front office will make the right decisions for this franchise. Because up to this point, the responsibility for the culture change of this organization is due to the front office, not Jackson.
Jackson has done less than one would think to progress this franchise to the point of sustained success. He did not scout and bring in four impact players from the 2011 and 2012 drafts that have become integral prospects. He did not anticipate the transformation of Stephen Curry into a superstar, making his then-signed extension of around $10 million a year a complete steal. He did not contribute towards a squeaky-clean salary cap without unsalvageable contracts or dead money. This season, he did not execute mid-season trades that allowed this roster to take shape when in-game bench rotations were poorly managed. All of these actions are due to the trio of Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, and Jerry West.
This front office has shown its enthusiasm towards championship contending and has proven it makes smart, sound basketball decisions. They are not short-sighted believing the Warriors should sustain the same level of success every year. Their goal is to continue to build until this organization can’t go any higher. We are to the point with this group where we should realize they are going to do the right thing for the franchise.
I’m not surprised at the backlash of the decision and the grief that ownership is taking. However, I envision a scenario two or three years down the road where fans look back and think that this front office knew exactly what it was doing.