Mark Jackson has been interviewing to be the next head coach of the Golden State Warriors for months ... unofficially. It was a pretty standard 112-106 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on March 16, except for the fact that ESPN covered the contest and Jackson's commentary was more spirited than it's ever been -- even those times when he utters one of his well-known catch phrases as a game goes to commercial. And best of all for his career, he kept saying things Joe Lacob agrees with, like how ridiculously loyal Warriors fans are.
These fans, they are real fans. This team is not a number one seed. They appreciate good, hard-working basketball.
There you go, Mark. Buttering up the fans is a smart (no pun intended) preemptive move. But tell us, what's Stephen Curry thinking as he sits on the bench, barely playing at all during the fourth quarter, mainly because Keith Smart decided to spend the last two months of his Warriors tenure wearing a "TEAM MONTA" t-shirt?
"If I'm not good enough to end the game, don't start me. Start Acie Law."
Even better than buttering up the fans: saying exactly what they're thinking on national television. There wasn't one Warriors fans thinking, "Thank goodness Acie's in there making 20% of his threes" that night, or any night last season. More than any other night I've listened to Jackson talk about basketball, he seemed like he was speaking with a purpose on that otherwise forgettable Wednesday evening.
It's no coincidence the Monta Ellis-for-Andre Iguodala trade rumors started heating up soon after we found out Mark Jackson would be the next head coach of the Warriors. After Jerry West said in his introductory press conference that the Warriors "obviously ... need more size," the majority of people figured Ellis would be the one out the door, although with Curry's smaller contract and higher perceived ceiling, he might bring back more interesting offers from opposing teams. But that's not going to happen, because Jackson's in town to teach Curry how to lead the team, and West and Bob Myers (and Larry Riley, I guess) are tasked with surrounding Curry with a group of players that will both excite the fans AND win more often than they lose.
Ellis is gone, because the plan is in motion. The Warriors added Jerry West and Mark Jackson in a pretty short time, and Jackson did his part to answer questions about his lack of coaching experience by adding the best assistant coach he probably could, defensive specialist Mike Malone, a guy who's hung around Chris Paul for a while. The Warriors are making the "bold moves" Lacob promised months ago, and for a franchise plotting their move across to the Bay to follow the San Francisco Giants' template for monetary and media success, the smart money is on the Warriors sticking with the guard who starred in an NBA commercial this season.
"And boom goes the dynamite"
- Why are the Warriors so intent on breaking up with the A's and shacking up next to the Giants? Try 26 straight shutouts to start the season, with the distinct possibility that they'll sell out the entire season.
- You think Sabean wanted to spend June trying to trade Travis Ishikawa, an autographed F.P. Santangelo Giants jersey and 10 cases of David Ranch-flavored sunflower seeds to the Nationals for Pudge Rodriguez?
- The poor Oakland Athletics -- Brett Anderson is probably on his way to Tommy John surgery. Anderson got an MRI and now "the team now wants to get another set of eyes on the film." Paging Dr. Andrews.
- The A's deserve to be made fun of when they put their hopes on guys like Rich Harden and Justin Duchsherer and they go down, but losing Anderson for the entire season (if that indeed occurs), only a month or so after losing Dallas Braden, is bordering on ridiculous.
- Still, after eight losses in a row, the Bob Geren watch is officially underway.
- Alex Smith kicks beat reporters out of practice, Michael Crabtree talks to reporters for 10 minutes, and Crabtree's not exactly ready to celebrate the supposed return of A-Dot Smith. Can't blame him. Smith (and horrible playcalling) has probably cost Crabtree millions of dollars in his next free agent deal. Well, that and Crabtree's propensity to go alligator and tip the ball to opposing defenders. Someone get that guy a Snickers.
- This kind of hurts my ears, but it's still fun to listen to -- mostly since the energy level in the Cal broadcaster's voice is the exact opposite of the famous quote in the subhead seven paragraphs above, at least in terms of the energy displayed by both now (in)famous college broadcasters: