After the Golden State Warriors lost arguably one of the best NBA coaches of all time in Don Nelson, current head coach Keith Smart had some serious shoes to fill. But with Nelson's departure and the introduction of new ownership, the Warriors were looking for an immediate improvement with the talent they had, and the coach they felt would lead them there. But with the disappointing 30-40 record including the recent four game losing streak and a 4-11 record overall since the All-Star break, it think it suffices to say that Coach Smart will be on the hot seat when the season ends, and most likely the casualty of the Warriors mediocrity.
Personally, I think Smart is a decent coach, Just not for this team. I don't really get the sense that he has the true pulse of the team, how they mesh together on the court and how the ebb and flow of games causes changes to the game plan. With the recent rumors swirling about that Stephen Curry and Coach Smart have had a bit of a rough relationship, as written by CSN Bay Area's Matt Steinmetz earlier this week, is something that certainly won't bode well for retaining his job. But it definitely goes deeper than that; much deeper. New majority owner Joe Lacob wanted to turn Golden State into a winner as quick as possible, and thought that guys like David Lee and his ridiculous contract and Smart were pieces of the puzzle to a winning franchise. But since he can't really dump Lee after one season (plus he is really fond of him) the focus will turn to Smart as the fall guy, the one who couldn't get it done.
Coach Smart was on KNBR with Razor and Mr. T earlier this week and explained that the W's are a team that haven't arrived to the point where they can win consistently on the road, and that their mistakes are always magnified by an elite team (like the Mavericks). He also mentioned how it is possible to over-analyze the team when they are under-performing, which in my opinion the W's have most of the year. These things may or may not be true, but to me it shows a lack of understanding of ones own team. It's the ownership's decision to fire a head coach, and the W's ownership would never blame themselves, so it's easy for them to say that Smart is the lone problem and can be fixed with a pink slip. It may be unfair, but also a reality in the NBA.
I think if given another year and a few better pieces Smart could make this team into a winner, but I don't think he will be afforded the chance to do so. Now the question will be, are there coaches out there that can really do better than Smart has done?