There is no exact science to evaluate a coach. You can judge them by their wins and losses, but that doesn’t tell you the full story because teams are built differently with varying levels of talent. The fact that the Warriors were 20 games below .500 last season does not make Mark Jackson a bad coach. Nor is he a good coach now simply because the team is in position to make the playoffs. There’s no question that this year’s squad is deeper and more talented than Warriors teams of the past, so that probably accounts for most of the team’s improvement, but what about the coaching?
Sounds like a question for the Bloggers Roundtable to handle. Rich Twu (Golden State of Mind), Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy), Adam Lauridsen (Fast Break), Ben Cruz (Bleacher Report) and Ethan Sherwood Strauss (Bleacher Report, WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com), you’re up …
Rich Twu | Golden State of Mind | @poormanscommish
There are at least two major facets of NBA coaching: psychology and the good 'ol X's and O's. I think we're seeing that MJ has a natural talent in the psychology department. Granted, as he himself said, the team had to go through the struggles of last year to buy-in to his philosophies, but now, the bottom line is it's working. He's definitely developed a solid foundation from which to build. As far as the X's and O's, we see that he's employed some really good plays as well as options to these plays that have been effective with the personnel that he's got. However, I think he's still a sophomore when it comes to substitution patterns and lineups in certain situations. These are things that you just have to learn on-the-job, and the Warriors as far as the franchise and its fans will have to accept and, to a degree, suffer through with him. On the flip side, as mentioned, it appears that the Warriors are beneficiaries of an effective leader who has what it takes to establish an enduring culture. You don't see that a lot anymore. Really, only the San Antonio Spurs come to mind in that regard.
Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
I was a skeptic when he was hired due to his lack of coaching experience, but my mind has been changed. The Warriors seem different, somehow ... actually, they play almost like one of those 1990s Eastern Conference teams Jackson used to lead as a player. They're tougher, they put guys on the deck, they apologize to no one. (I can almost hear Jackson reciting the previous sentence in a postgame press conference.) Granted, good basketball will rule the day, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing how Jackson handles the team's first five-game losing streak of the season. In previous seasons, that prospect probably would've made me cringe.
Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Jackson has made progress in his second season, but still has plenty of room for improvement. He deserves a ton of credit for getting this team to believe in itself and give tremendous effort despite early injury setbacks. Until recently, the team's defense was a significant improvement over past years and the unselfish ball movement had provided a steadiness to the team's offensive attack. Now, with both the defense and offense struggling, Jackson will get to show that he has the resourcefulness and resiliency to stick in the NBA as a coach. Assuming he finds a way to coach the team through mid-season adversity (I suspect he will), his biggest challenge will be to improve as an in-game Xs and Os coach. He's getting better, but his tendency to fall back on rote rotations and to let runs go uninterrupted by timeouts suggests he's not yet coaching at the full speed of the game. Still, he's clearly earned the right to show that he can continue developing as a coach next season.
Ben Cruz | Bleacher Report | @cruzkontrol
Mark Jackson has made great strides in year two of his NBA head coaching career. While his substitution patterns have been perplexing at times, overall, Jackson has done a good job of getting this team to where they are. After losing Brandon Rush for the season and missing Andrew Bogut for a large portion, it looked as if the Warriors' season was going to fall apart before it even got the chance to get going. But somehow, Jackson got his team to believe that they were just as good without two of their most important players. With the Warriors in the midst of their worst losing streak of the season as they enter the All-Star break, Jackson's coaching ability will be put to the test. Can he get his team to rebound mentally from their most recent 0-4 road trip? He has about two months to pull it all together.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss | Bleacher Report, WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com | @SherwoodStrauss
Mark Jackson presents himself as a motivator, but I happen to like his strategic approach better than the speeches. The team made wise defensive adjustments to compensate for a lack of screen-hedging talent, and the offensive sets in which Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry crisscross paths are wonderful. In the aggregate, I just don't have many complaints when it comes to Jackson. I suppose he gives his players a little too much praise to the media, but that's a minor concern.
Four questions answered in our Bloggers Roundtable, one to go. Stay tuned for another panel discussion over the weekend. In the meantime, check out our behind-the-scenes coverage of All-Star Weekend and be sure to share your thoughts on Coach Jackson, or any of the following questions, in the comments below.