Mark Jackson was supposed to change the culture of this Warriors team.
Jackson said he was going to turn the run-and-gun Warriors into a defensive-minded team.
But after 22 games, the culture hasn’t changed, the defense hasn’t improved and Jackson himself is making excuses, blaming officials after Tuesday’s nail-biting loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Warriors are allowing the most points per game (100.9) in the league this season. These players don’t know how to play hard-nosed defense. In this case, you can’t teach an old dog a new trick.
Tuesday night’s loss was especially frustrating. Monta Ellis scored 48 points and David Lee did everything en route to a rare triple-double, yet the Warriors failed to execute when they had the ball trailing by one with 14 seconds left.
David Lee passed up a clear path to the basket, passing the ball back out to Ellis for a three pointer they didn’t need. Ellis missed the shot badly and the Warriors failed to collect the rebound.
It was one of those moments where you want to pull your hair out and scream “what are you doing?!?”
Ellis should have driven to the basket. A basket gives the Warriors the lead. A foul sends him to the line with a chance to tie or give his team the lead. Anybody that knows anything about basketball knows you go to the hoop in that situation.
In his post-game comments, Jackson stood behind Ellis’ shot, saying:
“We executed. David had an option, turned down the drive, kicked it to Monta. I’ll take it all day long.”
You’ll take it all day long? Really? In this particular situation, that should be the last shot you want.
There’s just no improvement. Jackson says it’s there. But there’s no evidence. They are giving up a lot of points. The execution on game-ending possessions has been awful. On multiple occasions, Ellis has waited too long before making his move.
Clearly, the gameplan isn’t working. If the Warriors don’t make marginal improvements over the next 44 games, Jackson shouldn’t get a second season.