Jackson: 'Our strengths are depth, versatility'


Jackson: 'Our strengths are depth, versatility'

I recently caught up with Warriors coach Mark Jackson and asked himabout the teams offseason and what to expect from the upcoming season.
Question: How are you feeling about the upcomingseason?
Jackson: Im very excited. I thought our ownershipgroup and Bob Myers did an outstanding job. The whole front office did anoutstanding job making us better. The moves theyve made have put us in aposition of feeling good going into the year. Obviously, the key is going to bethe health of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut. But I watched Stephen Curry thispast week and thats even more reason to feel optimistic about this season.REWIND: Bogut says he may miss preseason games
Question: What kind of style do you anticipateplaying?Jackson: We have a lot of versatility, with different weapons anddifferent players we can use. Well have a lot of different ways to play,depending who is on the floor. Our bigs are skilled scorers and passers, canscore some with their backs to the basket and are good screen-setters. And ourguards are knock-down shooters. I think well be able to play some uptempo,some halfcourt, inside and out. I think the strength of this team isversatility and our ability to play more than one way.Question: Other than versatility, what do you thinkis the strength is of this team?Jackson: Our depth. We havent had this type ofdepth on our roster before. Lets face it, at times last year if you took a guyout of the game, you sometimes didnt know what youd get. It was a fight justto stay in the game. We flat-out have more talent on this team. For us, JarrettJack and Carl Landry, Brandon Rush they give us a lot of options. You take aguy like Jarrett and he can play both the one and two and defend the one andtwo. It gives us more options.Question: Are you feeling more pressure to win thisseason?Jackson: At the end of the day, I dont put anymore pressure on myself than before. I want to win. If I was coming back andcoaching the same team, there would still be pressure. We have improved and Imoptimistic. We want to win. Thats my entire focus. And, in fairness, any coachin this league should feel pressure to win. Not just me.Question: On paper, it seems like four of the fivestarting positions are pretty much set. But is it fair to say the small forwardposition is wide open?STEINMETZ: Should Rush start at small forward?
Jackson: I would say yes. Thats fair. We haveplayers capable of playing that position depending on certain situations. Imgoing to do whats best for the team, collectively. At the start of camp, wellsee how it goes and make that decision. But Im going to make the best possibledecision for our basketball team. I want to win.

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase


With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

OAKLAND -- Getting to 73 wins is impossible for the Warriors, and the pursuit of it never entered their minds.

Reaching 69 wins, their average in three seasons under coach Steve Kerr, is highly improbable.

Even winning 67 games, the lowest total under Kerr, is extremely unlikely.

There is, however, a number the Warriors are aiming for that also happens to be within their grasp -- but only if they can fight through the regular-season malaise and break an unhealthy tendency.

They can get to 35 victories at Oracle Arena. Currently 16-6 at home, the Warriors would have to go 19-0 to reach 35, and it’s possible insofar as they are less than two years removed from posting an NBA-record 54 consecutive wins at home.

Can a team that once went 14 months without losing at Oracle summon a three-month stretch of perfection at home?

The schedule invites the possibility, but it’s still up to the Warriors and how they cope with tug of three long seasons and that tendency to float a bit in front of their home fans, two factors that have had more effect at home than on the road.

“In general, the appropriate fear we always talk about, it’s there on the road for most games and it’s not there as much at home,” Kerr conceded Monday.

Kevin Durant used different phrasing but echoed the comments of the coach.

“You tend to relax a bit when you’re at home because you’ve got your home crowd,” he acknowledged. “You’re just comfortable in that situation. You can go home and go to sleep in your own bed after the game. So you relax a bit.

“On the road, it just feels like this is the last game of your career. It just feels that way, especially when you’re playing a tough opponent and somewhere with a crowd that’s going to be really, really into it.”

Having gone 39-2, 39-2 and 36-5 over the last three seasons, the Warriors are assured of having their worst home record under Kerr. Still, 35 is not impossible.

The drop is not unanticipated, as Kerr experienced something similar as a member of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when they won three straight championships as their regular-season wins steadily dropped, from 72 to 69 to 62.

“Where it has truly been the most tangible and palpable is home games against lesser opponents,” Kerr said. “We’ve lost six. Maybe two of those are playoff teams.

“We didn’t lose those games the last the last three years. We dominated the home floor. That’s where it really shows.”

The Warriors have lost at home to the Rockets, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Hornets and Clippers. Only Houston is a playoff lock. Detroit, Denver and the Clippers are on the fringe of the postseason race. Charlotte is a longshot, Sacramento a no-shot.

The Warriors, in every home loss, have started drowsily or played too carelessly or were self-destructive enough to give back a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

“This is the first year in my four years where we’ve lost a lot of home games that we shouldn’t,” Kerr said. “That just points to emotional fatigue. Trying to get up for 82 games is a difficult thing, especially in Year 4 of a quest to get back to The Finals.”

Coming off a successful road trip during which they won four of five games, the Warriors this week face the Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics -- the latter two being playoff locks.

A home sweep is difficult, of course, but hardly inconceivable. And if the Warriors can pull that off, they’d have only four remaining home games against teams fighting for a top-four playoff slot: the Thunder and Spurs twice each.

Oklahoma City appears to be getting their act together. The Spurs, while still formidable, are starting to look like a team in decline.

They’re also the two teams most likely to get the full attention of the Warriors, who began the week by sitting through video of their last three games, during which they committed numerous hideous errors.

The message: Their unforced mistakes are the surest route to defeat.

“There are key points of the year where we have to hit the reset button in terms of our priorities,” Kerr said. “Right now is one of those times. This is an important week for us. We need to take care of the ball. We need to be smart and make good decisions. If we do that, we’re really, really hard to beat.”

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC


Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.

During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.

But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.

Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.

Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:

"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.

The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.

"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.


Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.