All things being equal, you could make a case that Mark Jackson is doing a nice job for the Warriors in his initial season as coach. He has the team at 13-17 at the break, and by and large that record is pretty indicative of the type of talent and team they have.But all things are not equal.The reality is that Jackson should be held to a higher standard because he promised the standard would be raised. Guaranteed it as a matter of fact. So did owner Joe Lacob.
From the day Jackson was hired on June 6, he has talked in a big wayabout things such as accountability, changing the culture, doing things the right way and even making the playoffs. Jackson said things were going to be different.RELATED: Warriors midseason player grades
But the facts on the court say the Warriors are largely the same. Oh, they might be a little better defensively than they were last year, but overall Jackson has not gotten the Warriors to win at a higher rate than Keith Smart did a year ago.And, if anything, the Warriors have more talent on the roster this season. Theyre starting five is the same, but most acknowledge the bench in 2011-12 is a strength and superior to the substitutes of last season.Under Smart, the Warriors went 36-46 last season, a winning percentage of .439. This year under Jackson, the Warriors are winning at a .433 clip.In other words, Jacksons assurance on the day he was hired that things be changing in the Bay Area with the Warriors hasnt come to fruition.Now, on the one hand, Jackson has only coached 30 games and thats not a large sample size. On the other, the Warriors have had a very favorable first part of the schedule and thats about to change for the worse. There is a very real scenario in which the Warriors fall out of touch with .500.The Warriors finished 12th in the conference a year ago; theyre No. 12 in the conference right now.During interviews, Lacob frequently says that one of the areas where the Warriors are improved is in the coaching department. Again, that might be true, but there is no proof.Notwithstanding some nuance of style, you cant tell me the 2011-12 Warriors are noticeably better than the 2010-11 Warriors. And thats on Jackson.Because he promised better. There is still no evidence the Warriors are a playoff team, despite Jackson continuing to maintain they are. Truth be told, Jacksons bold words -- on the playoffs and other matters -- seem to be greeted with more and more skepticism, and that is not working in his favor.Of course, there is still time for the Warriors to make a second-half run and get into the postseason. But with each passing loss it seems to become more obvious that this is not a playoff team.For example, most playoff teams are better than 2-6 when it comes to three-point gamesand thats what the Warriors are. In some circles, that is a direct indictment of coaching.Now, nobody ever said the Warriors had the closers to win consistently in tight games, but thats not the point. Its that Jackson and this team should be judged as a playoff-type team because thats what Jackson said theyd be.But Jackson steadfastly maintaining the Warriors are a playoff team is only one of the things hes said this season that strains credulity.Hes also said the Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis is the best in the business and that hes content with what center Andris Biedrins has given the team this year.After Warriors rookie Klay Thompson failed to make the Rising Stars Challenge game, Jackson mocked the snub. He said there werent nine first-year players better than Thompson. And yet, the reality is that Thompson is 22nd among rookies in minutes played, indicating that Jackson, himself, might not believe in Thompson as much as he says.Jackson has said repeatedly that defense is the most important thing in his system and yet no player on the roster is favored more than David Lee, perhaps the teams most defensively challenged player. And yet Jacksons been hardest on Ekpe Udoh, the teams best interior defender.Jackson has begun to say more and more that making the Warriors better is a process. But anybody who has watched the Warriors in the past few years knew that already.Jackson came here and confidently proclaimed that the Warriors were a playoff team, and he did that on the day he was hired. But the bottom line is they dont look like oneand their record, if anything, proves they arent.And thats on Jackson.
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