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February 25, 2015 Updates

While Jackson excelled as a leader, he was not interested in the minutiae of coaching, according to sources. He so rarely watched film that the video team eventually stopped loading clips onto his laptop. He didn’t draw up plays during huddles, or carry a clipboard. He often looked at his cellphone during practice, even when management was around. His relationship with the front office grew more strained. Sports Illustrated

When Jason Collins publicly announced his homosexuality in April 2013, Jackson told reporters, “I know Jason Collins; I know his family and am certainly praying for them.” This seemed particularly tone-deaf considering that Golden State COO Rick Welts, the first high-ranking sports executive to come out, worked in the same building. Welts says he approached Jackson and had “a nice conversation, like grown‑ups,” adding, “He knew how I felt, I knew how he felt. I’m sure he thought it was an opportunity to educate me, and I thought it was an opportunity to educate him.” Sports Illustrated

This year, Thompson’s improvement is due in large part to the evolution of his game, but he and Curry are also getting easier shots. “No one ever knew how good Klay really was last year,” says one opposing coach. “Because Mark never ran any plays for him.” Which, in retrospect, may help explain why the Warriors opted not to trade Thompson for Kevin Love. Perhaps they knew something the rest of us didn’t after all. Sports Illustrated

Joe Lacob on whether he still talks to Mark Jackson: “Are we buddies? I wouldn’t say that (Lacob laughs). I talked to him when he was at the game here, recently, and had a good conversation. The funny thing about Mark is, I really like Mark, and everyone perceives that somehow we didn’t get along. That’s just not true. Don’t think we ever had a cross word. So he’s a good guy. We wish him well. He did a really good job for us. At the time, he was absolutely the right guy to hire. He did what we needed. Just like when I came in as the new owner, I needed to be out front, be the face of the franchise —not something I wanted to do by the way, but someone had to do that.” Sports Illustrated

On the comment about Jackson at the VC lunch: “I momentarily forgot my cardinal rule, which is whenever something comes out these lips, I’ve got to assume it’s public. But you have to understand, I’ve spent 30 years in that industry, a lot of those people are friends. A lot of it was about VC, and transition from VC to sports and how did you do that, and what are the similarities. It was in the context of all that unfortunately. Everything I said was fine, but I went too far on a couple statements. "I had to apologize but the truth was, I went too far. It’s my mistake. The best thing I’ve learned, from early on: even if you don’t think you made a mistake by doing something, just say you made a mistake.” Sports Illustrated

But Carlisle and Rondo had plenty to say to each other during a tense timeout with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter. The stubborn coach and headstrong point guard exchanged a lot of expletives as they shouted at each other in a dispute stemming from Rondo's desire to have more play-calling responsibilities. "Well, it's an emotional game and we had a difference of opinion," Carlisle said. "There was an exchange, and then, in my mind, it was over." ESPN.com

The tension between Rondo and Carlisle about play-calling had been brewing for a little while, team sources told ESPNDallas.com. It reached a boiling point when Rondo appeared to blow off a play call from the bench, prompting Carlisle to storm onto the court while calling a timeout and shouting at Rondo, who responded in kind. ESPN.com

February 24, 2015 Updates
February 23, 2015 Updates

Lacob describes Kerr as, “exactly who he sold himself as,” which, says Fraser, is one of Kerr’s best attributes. “There’s no bulls--tting about him,’ says Fraser. “He may be a bit nerdy, but you can’t say he’s not an honest, real guy. He does a good job of explaining and talking, not just commanding.” As for Curry, he says he likes that Kerr didn’t, “try to come in and be the hero and reinvent the wheel when it came to what we were good at.” “He’s very mature for a first time head coach,” says Curry. “To be able to have an awareness of the bigger goals, not just having the best record right now.” Green agrees: “He don’t let us settle for mediocrity in anything.” Sports Illustrated

Watch Warriors games and you’ll see the high-post action of Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, the drag screens and sideline tilts favored by Mike D’Antoni’s Suns (where Kerr served as GM from 2007-08 to '09-10), the low post splits from the old Jerry Sloan Utah handbook, and, most prominently, the motion offense and loop series of Popovich’s late-generation Spurs. The result is a system in which the only sin is standing still. “Ball movement and people movement,” is how Gentry describes it. The bigs use dribble hand-offs, the shooters curve and cut in a continual churn and everyone, eventually, gets to touch the ball. To Kerr, who had the advantage of watching the Warriors up close as a broadcaster, this was the best way to utilize a roster stocked with bigs who are better-suited to passing than diving to the rim (in particular, Kerr calls Bogut “a witch with the ball.”) Sports Illustrated

Kerr is also a believer in process and preparation. He asks the video staff to load the previous five games of an upcoming opponent on his laptop leading up to a game. Last July he visited Pete Carroll and was impressed with how Carroll used music to energize the Seahawks in practice. Now the Warriors do the same thing. Following an example set by both Carroll and Bill Belichick, Kerr hired as his personal assistant Nick U’Ren, a 28-year-old who’d spent the previous five years as an assistant video coordinator with the Suns. Explains U’Ren: “The idea is that rather than have a 45-year-old woman behind a desk answering mail as your assistant, why not instead use that spot to add another young basketball mind to the staff.” So now U’Ren does both; on any given day he might book Kerr’s travel, splice video footage and spend 20 minutes breaking down game strategy with his boss. As far as he knows, he’s the only person in the NBA with his job. Sports Illustrated

There were other, cultural concerns. Jackson often emphasized his faith with the players. “It’s fine to be religious,” says one Warriors insider, “but it’s a different thing to bring it to your work.” When Jason Collins publicly announced his homosexuality in April 2013, Jackson told reporters, “I know Jason Collins; I know his family and am certainly praying for them.” This seemed particularly tone-deaf considering that Golden State COO Rick Welts, the first high-ranking sports executive to come out, worked in the same building. Welts says he approached Jackson and had “a nice conversation, like grown‑ups,” adding, “He knew how I felt, I knew how he felt. I’m sure he thought it was an opportunity to educate me, and I thought it was an opportunity to educate him.” Sports Illustrated

February 22, 2015 Updates
February 21, 2015 Updates

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