Mark Jackson: “Steph Curry is My Starting Point Guard.”

You can’t help but get the sense Mark Jackson is expecting big things this season from Stephen Curry.

Many fans may be ready for the Warriors to move on from Curry, or are at least concerned whether he’d ever reach his potential. Jackson, on the other hand, seems to be doubling down on Curry. Check out this exchange Monday:

Is it good for Jarrett Jack to be there to challenge Curry?

“He doesn’t have to think about it. Steph Curry’s my starting point guard.”

For now?

“Steph Cury is my starting point guard.”

So if he doesn’t play well come January …

“Steph Cury is my starting point guard. I mean, I don’t know what you’re looking for. Steph Curry is my starting point guard.”

It stood to reason, based on recent history, that Jack might be a threat to Curry. Jack is a better defender, has more experience and is a proven leader. But it seems Jack, the veteran point guard who had a career year starting last year for New Orleans, is a bigger threat to second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson than he is to Curry.

“You can absolutely do that,”Jacksonsaid when asked if he would play Curry and Jack together down the stretch. “Part of the credit for ownership and (GM) Bob Myers and the front office, they went out and got a guy that can defend the position, has size, not afraid of the moment, can play on the ball, can play off the ball. So he’s a guy that can complement Steph and he certainly gives us some toughness. And there’s no question about it, he’s insurance.  We’re not trying to create and panic. We’re going to miss Steph if anything happened to him. But we have a guy that’s a proven starter and is as good as it gets as a back-up in this league.”

Wait for it …

“But Jarrett Jack knows his role. He’s going to play. He’s going to play both backcourt positions. But Steph Curry is my starting point guard.”

Jackson hardly sounds like he has his doubts about Curry. He certainly doesn’t seem to be waiting for a Chris Paul miracle. Maybe he knows that the best basketball in Curry’s young career was when Don Nelson anointed Curry the leader of the team. Maybe he hasn’t allowed Curry’s injuries and weakness to overshadow Curry’s strengths and potential — especially if he has weapons around him.

Provided Curry is healthy, this training camp will probably begin the point guard-coach relationship expected when Jackson was hired as head coach. Warriors management started that process by putting players around Curry that won’t take away from his game.

“Monta Ellis is an exceptional player, but he’s also a guy that needs the basketball and in order to be most effective. At times you’ve got to run the offense through him. Klay Thompson is a guy that traditionally gets his in transition, gets his off of down screens and catching and shooting, simple offense. Which makes it easier for a guy like Steph or a point guard to run his show.”

Jackson, a noted point guard during his 17-year career, is continuing that process by removing all doubt from Curry’s role as a leader. The next step is putting the ball in his hands and getting him the point guard experience he needs.

“I want him to be aggressive on the floor. I want him to be a guy that’s making plays. He’s more than a great shooter. He can use that deceptive speed, he can get into the paint and he can be a handful. And I think we’ve seen that when he’s been 100%. I think having weapons around the floor is going to open up things for him much more. Whoever starts, you’ve got to guard five guys on the floor.”

After having surgery to repair his right ankle on April 25, Curry was cleared for full medical clearance last week. Jackson said Curry has been unlimited in his workouts with the team.

Still, though he has no limitations from doctors, Jackson said he will keep a close eye on his starting point guard.

“I will monitor him,” Jackson said. “He’s here every day and he’s doing everything that everybody else is doing. He’s playing live and feels fine. But I’m going to, as a coach, be smart with him. There’s no sense with me having him doing suicides and him running crazy and all of that. Once again, I know where my bread is buttered and I’m going to use wisdom with picking and choosing when to have him go full-throttle and when to shut him down. He’s a guy that always wants to play and wants to participate, so sometimes you’ve got to protect him from himself and understand also it’s a long year. And here’s a guy that hasn’t played in quite a while.”

* Mark Jackson said he doesn’t have in mind a starting small forward yet. But he has a plan for choosing one.

“Ultimately what you do is you roll the ball out and you let those guys decide who starts,”Jackson said. “At the end of the day, I think it’s important — doesn’t mean who’s the best player — what makes us better as a team. And I’ll make that decision going forward watching them, watching them as a unit and seeing where we’re at.

But right now, I don’t have an answer for who my starting small forward is.”

Basically, Jackson said he needs to see which of the candidates — veteran Richard Jefferson, swingman Brandon Rush or rookie Harrison Barnes — fit best with the other four players tattooed in as starters.

It may play out that the starting small forward needs to be a defender. If that’s the case, it would seem Rush would be the front-runner.

However, Jackson said pegging a defensive-minded player to start doesn’t necessarily excludes Barnes from the mix. He described Barnes as having great athleticism and the competitive spirit to be good on defense.

“He has stepped up to the challenge. Basically, every day he’s out there he’s defending Klay Thompson. That’s as tough a match-up as you’ll see on our court because he gets so many screens and Klay has the mentality of scoring the basketball. So you have to defend him all day every day. But Harrison has not run from that challenge, and it’s refreshing to see.”

Of course, you can’t talk about defense and the small forward position without talking about one of Jackson’s favorites from last season: Dominic McGuire.

“He’s a big loss,” Jackson said. “He was a great guy, did a great job for me. I told my guys in the locker room 50 times that he was the poster child for what we preach from Day 1.”

Jackson said McGuire became the odd man out after Rush was signed and Barnes was drafted. He said McGuire’s role likely would have changed anyway because the Warriors wouldn’t have asked McGuire to do as much as they did a year ago.

Last season, McGuire not only defended practically every position, he was called on to play point forward, locker room leader and enforcer on the court. This season, with the Warriors’ depth, he likely would’ve been relegated to spot defensive assignments against hot players.

Jackson said he could see rookie Draymond Green emerging as the team’s Swiss Army knife this year.

“It will be interesting. I think we’re going to watch camp and get an understanding of the best way to use him, how much he will play, what will be his primary position. But he’s a guy that can play the 3, can play the 4, can handle the ball, can shoot the ball, can defend, can rebound. He’s a winner. He’s just going to have to be a guy, pretty much like Dom, that had to stay ready and be prepared to do the job — whatever that job is.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Young


    Jackson continues to prove he thinks words are more important than action…He explained Dom’s absence, yes, but the player see that doing exactly what Mark Jackson asks from day 1 will not get you rewarded financially…

    Jackson needs to take a class in leadership

  • Twinkie defense

    Well, duh! 😉

  • Holy Toledo

    Wow, really Marcus? The way you frame all this is kind of silly. Why not “hey, we got a valuable, multipositional, heady player we can spell Klay or Curry with in certain matchups? Hey coach, any insight into the ways you may use those guys with Jack now?”

    You know, something less….well, i guess you don’t know.

    Marcus, thinly veiled all this time, in your writing, is a distaste, shall we say, for Curry. Maybe not the man, the player even (perhaps it’s just you worry about his size, injuries.) Or maybe it’s just you really love PGs who play D. Not sure.

    Maybe i’m off here, but it sure seems, strongly, that for awhile now you’ve just not fully been on the Curry train. That to you, you just don’t see it in him, to others you just don’t get it, understand how shooting efficiency and intelligent positioning with some athleticism and moxie make him special, despite his somewhat limited D.

    We’ll find out which one, or am i wrong?

  • Jarret Jack is just not that good. Anyone who thinks he can “challenge” Curry hasn’t watched him play enough.

  • earl monroe

    What fans are giving up on Curry? Not me, he came into a dysfunctional team and front office, got injured (injuries are part of the game), his game may be a bit flawed if compared with traditional point guards at the upper level, but he is a unique talent, with the right pieces around him, for sure he is a keeper.

    If they don’t re sign him its a big mistake.

  • Holy Toledo

    Earl Monroe, i concur. Who other than Monta jock holders (which leads to) and efficiency non-understanders ever gave up on Curry (for anything other than injury issues?)

    And on top of it, Steph is no prima donna, he’s not at all in any way making noises about being “disrespected” or trying some bogus angle, like so many players do. He knows it’s reasonable for the team to take a look at how he moves and how his ankle responds for some preseason action, just to make sure of such an investment.

    Somehow the way Marcus has always discussed Curry seems to come up short with me. MT just doesn’t seem to respect/value efficiency, as if he can’t get his head around his eye. I.e., the eye test, his gut on what makes a player really good (to him, and many: athleticism, toughness, skill, heart) just doesn’t allow him to see/respect a different way to be that level: Historically upper echelon shooting efficiency with better than you’d think rebounding, sure some TO issues but good passing and while a feather physically on D, a smart and quick defender who gets in lanes, isn’t a complete nothing on D.

  • Young

    Sorry to rain on the party Earl Monroe and Holy Toledo but MT is talking to me.

    I love steph curry, but this is his last year to show me he is a real point guard or I want him traded.

    Every good point guard in the history of the game I know of averaged at least 7 assists and most averaged 9-10+ assists. So far in his career, steph has been a scoring guard, which at 6’3″ isnt very valuable or effective…

  • Dave

    Fans gave up on Curry because he was always injured and did not like to pass the ball. Steven Nash 10.7 assists per game. Stephon Curry 5.3 asists per game. This is Currry’s last chance.

  • earl monroe

    Even if Curry is not a true point the bottom line is that he is a hell of a ball player
    the warriors could do worse than having Curry taking the last shot.

    I always preferred Curry to Ellis.

    Why even put a timetable on Curry by saying this is his last year to show something?
    And Curry is not valuable as a scoring guard because of his height?
    BTW it took Nash 8 seasons to get his assists over 10 per game, if you really want to use assists statistics as a comparable to Nash Curry’s assist numbers are way higher than Nash’s over the first 3 seasons, better in scoring, better free throwing in 2 of the 3 seasons

    Nash in his third season when he played 31 minutes a game only had 5.5 assists per game. Curry played 28 minutes and got 5.3 per.

    I dont believe stats always tell the true worth of a player but to say Curry doesnt like to pass is ludicrous.

  • sartre

    To be fair, I’ve always taken Marcus for someone who rates Curry highly. However, given Curry’s injuries and the different strengths he and Jack offer it’s a valid line of inquiry to canvas the coach’s thoughts about their relative roles. I’m guessing that the only reason Marcus pressed him on the issue was MJ’s adamant pronouncement. I don’t doubt Curry is the better player and, assuming health, that he will continue to improve as a PG. The beat writer who has always been lukewarm on Curry as a PG (not as a shooter) is Steinmetz.

  • mvalfan2

    I think Jackson talks too much about himself, everytjing is me me me, instead of us us us! He has an ego issue that needs to be fixed or at least he needs to choose his word carefully.

    There is no way as a non playoff team i am talking about who is my starte=ing what. All the players will be working for spots, we have to put the best guys on the court. make guys work, so he is saying even if Curry doesnt improve on defense he is the starter. It doesnt matter what he does, he is the starter. Dont think thats what should be said right now. e should be talking about how hard we are goin to be working. jackson wont be here very long if his words stay the same.

  • AP

    Jus played 2k12 online with the dubs against heat so I subbed in McGuire on LeBron.. had a typical McGuire game. 0 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks haha. For real tho non video game speaking ima miss him. Sets the tone, gives 100% every possession and loving him for blocking čp3 on a game winning shot last year. Best wishes to him

  • “Is it good for Jarret Jack to challenge Curry?” Look people, this is where Coach MJ started to go all “Curry is my starter.” Marcus is just giving the story as it unfolded.

    Seriously now, what is it about the above question that required Coach to answer the way he did? I am sure that Marcus’ thought process was about things that Jack could do to help Curry become a better player… “pushing him to perform.” It bothers me that Coach had to take it the way he did. Coach may have an internal issue in his mind about who really deserves to start at PG.

    To think that Jack would not help Curry and teach Curry is BS. Jack is the perfect kind of player to help “push Curry.” Ability to get to the rim and the FT line and the ability to guard the 1 or 2 despite being the same height as Curry are reasons that they are a great compliment to each other.

    By the way, if I were the coach, I would start Jack, seriously.

  • earl monroe

    I have no issue with Marcus, I like what he writes, always fair

  • Marcus Thompson

    Holy Toledo,

    You couldn’t be more wrong. I was asking because while people say Curry is the starting PG, everybody knows Monta was really the starting PG. I remember Acie Law getting valuable minutes while Curry sat. Wanted to know how Jarrett Jack was the new Acie Law.

  • earl monroe

    Seriously? start Jack over Curry? The bottom line? If you are not performing and the team is not winning, try the next guy, if that is Jack fine, right now though Mark Jackson is right, if Curry is healthy he puts quite a bit of pressure on the opposing team, Jack? Not so much.