"My teacher kicked a stool today when he found out Mark Jackson was fired!" From my sister versing me on the day-to-day lesson plan of a middle school teacher in San Francisco to a reporter clued in on the whole situation, the perspectives from all levels were resoundingly different. Relatively speaking, we're all functioning and hot take-ing from a stranger's perspective. But the variation in opinion from everyone affected by this decision is fascinating in the sense we have no real grasp as to whether this decision was made with business, personal, nepotistic, religious, or racial overtones. Whichever it may be, or all of them at once, there is no shortage of drama to go around.
51 wins, two playoff seasons in three years of coaching, and the "motivational" factor pushed forward by the Mark Jackson one-man PR squad has led many to back him as the coach that's dealt with a raw deal.
For most people, owners and General Managers stay in the shadows of the team, shedding the cloak of invisibility only when there's a trophy to be handed over. It now appears that Joe Lacob, especially after the Chris Mullins' debacle of a ceremony, is pushing himself into the public, firing Jackson because of "philosophical differences" and nothing else. Though he's trying to absolve blame of this decision by stating it was Bob Myer's hiring and firing, people no doubt feel the guy who fist pumps and rolls his eyes on the sidelines is the villain.
Whether or not this is accurate, people don't really care. They see a coach that's led their beloved team to their best run in two decades now used as a scapegoat for what they believe is a successful season. That's not easy to let go.
Mark Jackson's Perspective
It's not uncommon to have a boss tell you how to do your job. But it's rare when your boss has zero experience doing what you ostensibly have spent your life perfecting - in the general sense of learning the game of basketball, that is. Owner Joe Lacob, General Manager Joe Lacob and Assistant GM Kirk Lacob have all pushed Jackson towards a more analytically driven offense; one that, we assume, revolves around a flow offense ending with threes while simultaneously cutting down the number of isolations.
A basketball player-turned-coach of his stature, Jackson certainly doesn't, and maybe shouldn't, feel entitled to following the advice of people who have never played the game of basketball at the highest level. It doesn't help matters when stuff like this is said in public. Throw that into the fire Joe Lacob stirred up when he publicly stated his disappointment in the numerous home losses and it's no wonder Jackson felt he wasn't backed from an ownership view.
On Jackson & Malone: Their shared agent (at the time) negotiated to get Malone an "associate head coach" title without Jackson's knowledge.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 7, 2014
To add more fuel to the proverbial fire, there seems to be some logic to Jackson's defensiveness when it came to how he compiled his staff and how others perceived him as the coach.
Like the Lionel Hollins situation in Memphis last season, Jackson not only resisted the gradual wave of change permeating from the front office but also became defensive when he felt "his team" was being tampered with. When you're, allegedly, pushing out the Logo from team practices? Or openly, albeit passive aggressively, challenging the motives and antics of the media after wins? Or trying to fire an assistant coach on zero legal ground? It becomes not the issues with how Mark Jackson has coached this team but his relationship with everyone involved.
Lacob compared Jackson's firing to that of Steve Jobs when he was the CEO of a start-up. He admits the team couldn't have gotten where they are now with any other coach but for them to reach the billion-dollar industry, or in other words, a championship-level team, they'll need a new coach that is more open-minded. I'm reading between the lines here, of course.
Grading this firing on the basis of a personality clash is naive, especially when considering that the relationship between everyone involved may have caused the ideological differences that resulted in an anemic offense despite the surrounding talent. Jackson wanted many things, including his own staff (with Darren Erman's firing likely playing a huge part in how they felt about how Jackson treated his subordinates), unadulterated support and an extension, and shoved the success of two seasons in the owner's faces. Unfortunately, Jackson's version of success didn't compare to what was expected.
They love Mark Jackson. That's what we've heard ad infinitum the past three seasons. Andre Iguodala came here because of Jackson's influence. Dwight Howard considered the Bay Area because of Jackson. And many others, including Stephen Curry, compared Jackson to a friend. That's all well and good.
But according to Adam Lauridsen of San Jose Mercury News, in the fourth bullet point here, some of Jackson's gravitas as a player-coach and lovable character was a caricature presented and relentlessly pushed forward by himself. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry, two of the most vocal supporters of Jackson, have publicly offered their voices on the matter. But it also stands to note that Green didn't play much in the beginning of the season and Curry didn't get much offensive help from the system Jackson pledges he concocted.
Much of the true player reaction is shrouded in privacy, like everything else on the matter. But if Jackson's strongest sticking point - with him as master motivator and affectionable head coach at the top surrounded by the rubble of distraction - was never quite as sturdy as he make it out to be, perhaps the player backlash won't be quite as dramatic as many make it to be.
And finally, we have arrived to the section where the argument is just as different from either side. There are those that understand the firing, noting the lack of offensive progression and instability. Then there are others blaming it on the owner's meddling personalities, constantly craving the win-now mentality without the necessary patience. Meshing the four other aspects together, there's only one simple take I could gather from everything that's transpired:
Whatever the reason Joe Lacob and Bob Myers found to fire Mark Jackson, their next hire, and the pressure on the head coach to win, will be tangibly palpable the moment his name is introduced at the presser. Lacob gambled on their coaching vacancy the way he did on Andrew Bogut's ankle. He was torn apart by the fans, praised by some of the writers, and ultimately vindicated by Bogut's return.
In Lacob's world, right and wrong are relative ideals defined by the personal rate of success. This firing, unanimously agreed upon from the powers that be, presents itself as an admirable gamble simultaneously worthy of what Lacob craves and the total failure of every era beforehand.