KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Whoever said winning cures all ills is wrong. Mark Jackson is living proof after getting the boot from the Warriors, despite 51 wins and a second straight playoff appearance.
Did he deserve it? If your criteria is to win basketball games, no. If you want to sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya, yes.
Does anyone truly care if Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke don’t get along? Hell no, as long as they win football games. Does anyone remember the Warriors in the decades prior to Mark Jackson’s arrival in Oakland?
Their annual gift to season ticket holders was a doormat. Calling them mediocre would be the greatest compliment given in the history of the NBA. They had a player who tried to strangle a coach. They passed Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Jermaine O’Neal so they could draft…wait for it..Todd Fuller! They dumped Chris Webber to keep Don Nelson. Mike Dunleavy? Biedrins? Seriously?
And now they’re about to hire their ninth coach of the decade. Let’s toast a little stability, shall we?
If you uncover the layers of rumors, speculation and innuendo, you find several reasons for Jackson’s dismissal. Strategy, a “my way or the highway” mentality, kicking Jerry West out of practice, preaching about God like Oracle Arena was a cathedral, living off campus and deposing an assistant coach to Santa Cruz. (not so bad if you have a surfboard, by the way)
But the Warriors won 51 games, played perhaps the most exciting brand of basketball in the NBA and the players had Jackson’s back. I’m hearing all sorts of experts talk about Jackson’s strategy blunders. Will another coach get 51 wins out of this bunch? I can’t wait to find out, because whoever it is will have to either accomplish that feat or get to the second round of the playoffs.
That’s where the bar is set.
See you on TV.