As Warriors coach Mark Jackson gets Game 1 win against Clippers, friends at ESPN voice support

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.”

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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.”

Diamond Leung

  • Grey Warden

    Mark Jackson certainly has his faults, but the facts are that this is not a championship level team. Good enough to make the playoffs, and maybe into the 2nd round, but that’s it. If you get rid of Jackson, you run the risk of becoming the Nuggets without George Karl (injuries have decimated that team, but still). You also run the risk of displeasing Curry, who may in turn leave for free agency when his contract ends or demand a trade.

    Also, remember when absolutely nobody wanted to come here unless we paid them more? Jackson had a big hand in this; Curry re-signed, Bogut re-signed, Iguodala wanted to come here, same with Dwight Howard (though he obviously signed elsewhere).

    As for Van Gundy, he voiced his support for Jackson, but was rooting for Clippers to win. What’s up with that? Every call that benefited the Warriors, he believes the refs got wrong. Most calls that benefited the Clippers, he believes the refs got right, or believes the player shouldn’t have swiped at the ball, even if it was all ball. Draymond Green barely touched CP3 going for the steal late in the 4th, and despite numerous replays and angles, Van Gundy still said it was “obviously” a foul.

    And I don’t agree with Gundy’s view of “superstars shouldn’t foul out.” This view is one of the reasons Griffin, CP3, and other superstars of the league get away with so much crap. From flops, to non-fouls, to traveling. It gets ridiculous. Just because fans pay to see superstars doesn’t mean superstars are exempt from the rules of basketball.

  • craig.w

    I think Jackson is doing a fairly good job of coaching at this point. The negativity started when he was making some truly stupid coaching decisions – mainly the mass substitution of a second unit that was incompetent, and his stubbornness in sticking with that failed plan. That’s no longer the case, but once an opinion takes hold among management and fans, it’s hard to shake.

  • Stan

    The Warriors new stadium should be built so the roof is a place to hang out,get a view of the city,eat and shop. Just an idea..seems like a waste of flat space to build as is.

  • Scott B.

    Who thinks Warriors will win game 3?

  • Stan

    Uh,why is game two not mentioned? I never heard of a big newspaper not having the team writer do a story of a playoff game. Even if they were too cheap to send him ALL the way to Los Angeles.
    Man,what if the Warriors go out of state?…

  • Stan


  • thewarriorsrule

    agree about van gundy supporting jackson, but was rooting for clippers to win and was totally biased on the foul calls, lol.

    and agree about superstars not fouling out, that’s just stupid.

    don’t agree about this being a championship team though, i think we are, especially when we bolstered our bench with blake, crawford, j o’neal. definitely not with bogut injured. i think if we had a better coach, we have the talent to win a championship. for example, take poppovich away from the spurs and they are an average team. put poppovich with our roster and i think we’ll win, as he would discipline us with even better defense, finding the open shot, team ball, not turning the ball over, etc. of course maybe we’re not getting poppovich, but you know what i mean.

    and i doubt curry is one of those pre-madonna’s that would fret if jackson were gone. in fact, if we brought a winning coach here, i think he’d be even happier. he would get to rest more and there’s no wacky questionable sub patterns, and no lame timeout usage.

    and i don’t think jackson had a hand in attracting free agents. iggy wanted to come here because he wanted to play with curry, klay, bogut, and lee because he was never good enough to be “the man” and wanted to be on a team with less pressure with shooters and be a good defensive teammate.

    curry and bogut resigned because of the roster that bob myers put together. not because of the coaching. and look at the tension with bogut this year when jackson said he hurt his back in his sleep. i don’t think bogut loves jackson. and howard did not want to come here, if he did, he would have. we could have got him instead of iggy. iggy was just a consolation prize because howard wanted to play with parsons, harden, mchale, and ewing.

    overall if we brought in a better coach than jackson, sure the players would be upset at first, but once they notice they start winning more, they’d be happy.

    how many times do players want to come to a team because of the coaching? did lebron go to miami because of spoelstra? no, he went because he wanted to play with wade and bosh. coaches are secondary to players.

  • thewarriorsrule

    i am a knowledgeable warriors fan because i grew up learning basketball from jim barnett. van gundy and smith only see the outside, but they don’t watch every single warriors game closely, they don’t have time for that.

    any warriors fan watching games closely can see that jackson has major flaws:
    1) he has terrible substitution patterns
    2) doesn’t know how to make use of timeouts
    3) doesn’t draw up game plans against inferior opponents and takes them for granted
    4) way in over his head, never takes any fault
    5) doesn’t employ more of an inside-outside offense, more shots for bogut

    sure, he’s a great motivator, but we need a better x’s and o’s strategist. i don’t mind having jackson around if mike malone was our top assistant, but the way how he got rid of scalabrine and erman is already questionable. if he was a good coach, there would be no question about this job, but there is, so he needs to be on his way out.

  • aprmd

    The question to ask is not how far Mark Jackson has taken the team but whether he has taken them to their full potential. Vinny DelNegro took the Clippers to 2 consecutive Pacific Conf championships and 2 playoff runs, one to round 2. But it was clear he was not getting full potential out of the team. Look at the difference Doc Rivers has made in Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan. As the Clippers are about to eliminate the Warriors time to thank Mark Jackson for his contributions and get a real coach. Plus the preacher stuff is a little creepy and to me reflects that his thought processes are a little weird. Return Mark Jackson to his true calling, the Gospel, not the grind of NBA playoff coaching.