LOS ANGELES — Warriors coach Mark Jackson led the team to a win in Game 1 against the Clippers, and meanwhile, talk about his job security hasn’t subsided. In fact, it’s become a national talking point thanks in part to ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and Stephen A. Smith — two of Jackson’s friends in the media.
And it’s very noticeable.
“They were saying our coach is going to be gone,” the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala said of the media after the game Saturday. “Stephen A. Smith said it, right? Stephen A. said Coach is going to be gone, so we’re trying to save our coach. Every game is pressure for us.”
Van Gundy, who was once Jackson’s broadcasting partner, voiced his support during the telecast, in a story in the New York Post last month, and also Thursday in a conference call.
“If you’re a Warriors fan, management, owner, whatever, you can’t have that short a memory of where your organization has been,” Van Gundy said Thursday.
“I think anybody thinking that Mark Jackson hasn’t done a superior job there in transforming them from a poor team to a very, very good team, and from a sieve defensively to an elite defensive team just isn’t paying attention, and to think anyone could have done that with that team I think is making a mistake. I don’t buy it. I don’t think he is under any pressure to lose his job. I’d be shocked — I just can’t see it. I just can’t see management and ownership not recognizing what a great job he’s done.”
Smith, who before spoke of his understanding that Jackson is on the hot seat, last month launched into a defense on ESPN’s “First Take” of the coach he said was “my man, my homeboy from Queens, New York.”
“What’s going on as far as I’m concerned is he doesn’t have the support of the organization that he should have,” Smith said. “Now every time I’ve spoken to Mark Jackson on the few occasions that I’ve spoken to him this season, he’s done nothing but rave about the organization, rave about his job understanding that there’s an obligation to perform and produce. Last time I checked, that’s exactly what Mark Jackson is doing.
“This team is 17 games over .500. I’m just going to repeat myself. It’s 17 games over .500, and we’re having a conversation about this man’s job security? Who the hell do the Golden State Warriors or anybody associated with them think they are? Are you not paying attention? This doesn’t make sense to me. It makes absolutely no sense. You’re 17 games above .500 in a Western Conference. The same Western Conference that has San Antonio. The same Western Conference that has Oklahoma City, the Clippers, Memphis, Portland, Houston. You’ve got all of these teams up in here, and this dude is winning basketball games.
“Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and those boys can ball. You’ve got Jermaine O’Neal on the record saying that this is insane. There’s no reason on earth that Mark Jackson should even be considered to be somebody that’s on his way out the door.”