Warriors

Q&A with Mark Jackson -- Part 2

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Q&A with Mark Jackson -- Part 2

This is Part 2 of a three-part series with Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

In case you missed it, here is Part 1 of Matt Steinmetz's conversation with the first-year head coach.

Question: Were coming up on the one-year anniversary of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber officially taking over the team. Did you meet them before the interview process?Mark Jackson: I didnt meet them. I could remember at the end of the season, doing a Warriors game (for television) where I saw Joe from a distance. But I never met him, sitting on the front row, excited, enthusiastic. I can remember sitting there calling a game saying man, this is a great situation.You have a passionate owner looking to change things, excellent young talent, an incredible fan base, a great area. I thought this was pretty special. But I didnt meet either one of them, personally, until the interview process.Question: And meeting them lived up to that?Mark Jackson: Absolutely. I tell people and hes (Lacob) been quite honest about believing that I was his guy during the meeting. And after the meeting, I felt the exact same way. Sitting at the table talking to him, it was love at first sight. As far as the passion, the commitment, the belief, the vision, we were totally into it.Question: What did you think of the Jim Harbaugh handshake thing?Mark Jackson: Hes done a great job. Both guys in this area have done a great job making their teams relavant. Im proud to be part of this area and watching the work that theyve done. I totally understand the edge of a head coach, basically saying its us against them.Obviously, its not the way to do things. But as a player, Im thinking Yeah, thats my coach and thats why I love him and thats why Im ready to run through a wall for him. So, I can relate, I can appreciate. At the same time, thats not the way to do it. Hes acknowledged it. But I love his edge and I love the way hes going about coaching his team.Question: What do you think your sideline demeanor will be like?Mark Jackson: Calm Im not going to be cussing any referees out. Thats not going to happen. Youll never see that. Professional and demanding. I wont be cussing my players out. Im going to treat guys with respect and Im going to hold them accountable, and were going to be in this thing together.Question: Will you be standing up the whole time?Mark Jackson: I dont know. No, I do know. Im not going to be standing up the whole time. If Im standing up it will probably be just to get loose a little bit. If Im sitting down it will be just to get a rest.Ill be pretty calm and relaxed over there. I truly believe that you coach the guys in practice and work on things and put them in position -- sort of like Phil Jackson only he goes a little bit overboard. Hes a little too relaxed over there.But you let the guys play the game. So it will be a combination. But Im going to be excited. We showed this I had the (video coordinator) put together clips of winning plays. And one thing I watched was about 10 or 12 offensive fouls, rotations, where defensively and it was hard to find our guys got it done in the past.And as we watched it and you look at the bench and it was almost like (coaches and players were ambivalent). I told the guys I really dont care what the other coaches in this league feel about me as a coach. Whether Im too exited, too laid back. I dont care. I dont work for them. I could care less. But we, collectively, will celebrate those kinds of plays.As a team and as a staff we will be up, recognizing winning plays. And that may be against what the norm is. But Im not the norm.Question: So you dont use profanity at all?Mark Jackson: I havent said a cuss word in over 20 years.Question: So you know exactly when you stopped using profanity?Mark Jackson: I would say probably 1989. Two years into the league maybe. My kids have never heard me utter a cuss word. So Im not going to cuss anybody out. Its just not going to happen.Question: Are practices open to the media?Mark Jackson: Great question. No. There will be segments of practice when the media will be allowed in. I was born during the day but not yesterday. There will be segments of the practice when the media can come in.Question: Free throw only?Mark Jackson: Depends on how you guys are writing it. No, it will probably be more than that. Im a guy who understands the media side and what your guys job entails. And Im going to be more than happy to make life as easy for you guys as possible. Im not here to be a jerk.Question: Tell me how you came to know coach (Darren) Ermann?Mark Jackson: Doing a lot of Celtics games (as analyst). Hes a Louisville guy (Jacksons son attends Louisville). I spent a lot of times before Celtics games, talking to (Brian Scalabrine), who was friends with Erman. And every time we would talk, Erman would be there. So I talked to Doc Rivers about him, talked to Tom Thibodeau about him.Both guys raved about him, and we brought him in, interviewed him. And really hired him during the interview. Just absolutely passionate, a different guy, committed.He loves the game of basketball. There are certain reasons why you hire a person and certain reasons why you dont. He was absolutely funny. If he never gave me anything basketball-wise, which hes going to, hes still a heck of a hire. He keeps it light. A million stories. Funny. If we had a camera rolling during the interview you guys would say: you said that during the interview? Just very comical. But the guy is as hard of a worker as Ive been around.One of the first assignments I gave him by the time a 24-hour period was over he had immediately gotten back to me and was done. And it wasnt an easy thing. This guy gets it. Really a great guy who wants to be a great coach. Like I said, I pretty much hired him on the spot.Question: Can you tell us anything about the assignment?Mark Jackson: I gave him an assignment to come up with a slogan for us as a basketball team -- something to live by from Day 1. And I had been tossing and turning and obviously didnt want it to be corny. You like some things, you sort of love some things and he sent me something early the next day and it was like: That was it. Hes the brains behind it and it was a home run.Question: Well Mark Jackson: Obviously, if I give it to you guys the players wont know it.Question: Will it be all over the place?Mark Jackson: It will be all over. It will be in my offices, it will be in the locker room, it will be at the facility. I dont want to build it up like its Dr. (Martin Luther) Kings speech. But it sums up pretty much if we want to be successful whats got to be the mindset.

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season. 

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.