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In moving to dismiss popular coach Mark Jackson on Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors may have left the franchise’s splintered locker room in more disarray than even critics can ever charge the three-year coach’s game planning ever did.
To a man, Jackson was as popular in his locker room as any coach around the league, with star guard Stephen Curry going on record just before the Warriors’ formally lowered the boom to profess to the world “I love Coach more than anybody, and I think for him to be in a situation where his job is under scrutiny and under question is totally unfair.”
And yet not only did the Warriors not heed the advice of their star player, they seemed to regale in doing the complete opposite of he what he wanted right after he asked for it. And mind you, Curry wasn’t alone in his pro-Jackson sentiments.
“I’ve said it all year that he has my support,” added veteran forward David Lee. “We’ve made it clear we’re in support of Jackson if and when we’re asked.”
The 49-year-old Jackson finds himself on the unemployment line despite finishing the season at 51-31 and leading the Warriors on a two-year stretch where the team qualified for back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in nearly two decades. Overall, he posted a 121-109 mark.
And yet, Golden State’s brain trust has never quite seemed to be on the same page during the Jackson era, particularly this season when the team dismissed assistant coaches Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman during the season and reports surfaced that Jackson and Asst. GM Kirk Lacob were no longer even speaking.
“Have we won an NBA championship? No, but the change in culture has been unbelievable,” said Lee. “So many more positive things going on. Team chemistry has been unbelievable, and the chemistry throughout the whole organization has completely changed the past couple years.”
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