This should have been posted Friday afternoon, but I spent the weekend with no internet at the Russian River (no complaints here though). I was in attendance at Friday's introductory press conference for our new coach, so hit the jump for some first thoughts from both listening to the entire press conference and a nice conversation I shared with both Jackson and Riley.....Here's what I do know - believe it or not, despite the lack of resume, Mark Jackson knows what he wants to achieve with this team. I'm not talking about the his playoff confidence or the obvious dream of building a dynasty, but moreso the mechanics and system of (winning) gameplay he looks to implement that has been absent for about a decade and a half now. I'll make this as quick and condensed as possible, but here's why that press conference turned me into an official Mark Jackson enthusiast.
- He believes the point guard is the extension of the coach. He wants to build a system that focuses on developing Curry into the on-court puppeteer. He said many times that he hopes to reach the point as soon as possible where he will not have to be a vocal play caller from the sideline because our point guards will be able to 'voice his direction for him'.
He's going to be coaching defense first. He was very explicit that he believes (as well as I - check both the Mavericks and the Heat this year for proof) that defense wins championships. I've been a Warriors fan for my entire intelligible life (14 of my 19 years) and I cannot truly remember a squad that focused more on the defense rather than the typical warriors offensive punch.
- He understands Monta's faults, and he was very explicit about the ones he wants to change - which happen to be the ones we complain about here 24/7. Jackson specifically highlighted Monta's lack of defense, shoot first mentality/inefficient scoring, and his poor passing peripheries (extreme alliteration....I know) as all things he will personally focus on changing - or rather, instead of changing, vastly improving. For the first time since the Iggy trade rumors, I actually felt that if Coach Jackson could come through on improving those aspects of Monta's game, than I'd rather have the Mississippi Bullet stay in town for another year.
- A journalist from TrueHoops.com asked Coach Jackson if he believed in advanced analytics and statistics, and Coach Jackson said he understood them and had faith in them. This is huge, seeing as he mentioned he would consider them as a way of evaluating lineups and rotations. He vocalized the balance he wished to use between both advanced statistics, chemistry, and leadership; it sounded very much like an equation for winning.
- Jerry West believes in him as much if not more than anybody in our Front Office, which is such a plus. I got to speak to West over the catered lunch at the press conference, and you could just tell, it wasn't the usual 'PR stunt' excitement usually seen from the execs at these conferences, but he was acting like an excited little kid when talking about Jackson and his potential.
Jackson will have a large part in our basketball operations from here on out. Lacob and Riley kept stressing that despite Jackson not having a resume, he has watched and analyzed more basketball than anyone else (true), and understands what it takes to win. This will be nice, because I'd like to see Lacob do less in the GM position and turn more into a Mark Cuban type of owner.
- He will listen to the staff of basketball geniuses he builds around him and use them for guidance in order to become the best coach he can be. I can't even tell you how many times Coach Jackson praised assistant coach Malone. He will listen to them and utilize them to their maximum level in order to become the best coach he can be. For the first time in a while, we will have a staff that is cohesively working as one unit to turn and build our Dubs into the best team possible.
It's still too early to start calling out if the hiring was a smart move or not, but I can tell you one thing, after hearing and seeing the excitement in our front office on Friday, I can't help but be excited to see our new coach in action. I really think we picked a winner this time.
Coach Jackson at arrival: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=32223292&l=245c732511&id=1046160286
Our Big 3 (sorry, Guber's and Scott Ostler's head are in the way, but it's still the best one) : http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=32223305&l=88ab08d33f&id=1046160286
Jerry West and big Nate Thurmond: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=32223290&l=1dbb3b1efa&id=1046160286
Meeting one of my all time heroes, Nate Thurmond: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=32223311&l=aa85654c72&id=1046160286