Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mark Jackson's tenure as head coach of the Golden State Warriors could be ending some time this week and the man deserves better than this.
Even if Jackson returns to the Golden State bench, the tumult he's endured with the constant speculation about his job status has been unfair.
Jackson's crime is not on the floor or in his locker room. Jackson's quite possibly going to be unemployed because there's a reported disconnect with owner Joe Lacob.
Is Jackson cuddlier than a teddy bear? He is not. Jackson seemingly rubs those around him the wrong way and it's an especially bad idea to do it with the man who employs him.
But the coach has rubbed some of those he employs the wrong way, namely his coaching staff. Brian Scalabrine was jettisoned to the D-League. Reports state that Darren Erman felt so insecure, he taped private conversations around the team.
Lest we forget the end of Sacramento Kings coach Mike Malone's tenure with Jackson and the Warriors was not a happy one.
Can we infer that maybe Jackson has some issues with people questioning him or questioning his ability? I'm not a psychologist, although my aunt is, so it's all right for me to pose the question.
Those kind of issues may cost Jackson his job and that's nonsensical. Be a bigger man and worry about the important things. Should owners care about how isolation-heavy an offense is? Probably not, but when the one who signs the checks wants to discuss something, it should be discussed.
Jackson has been a head coach for three seasons. He's advanced once in the postseason so he's in no position to be above question, nor should he be offended when someone, especially an owner or someone who was hired to assist him, offers counsel.
So Jackson needs to mellow some, that seems clear.
Here are some other things that are clear: The Warriors would walk barefoot over hot coals sprinkled with glass to retain Jackson and Golden State is a winner since he arrived in the Bay Area.
"I love Coach more than anybody," said franchise centerpiece Stephen Curry. "For him to be in a position where his job is under scrutiny and under questions is totally unfair."
The way the Warriors players speak about Jackson is different than how every other roster speaks of its skipper. There is a love so apparent, Jackson, a pastor, got most of the team to attend Easter services at his church.
Having the love and respect of your team is important. Jackson's mantra of "us vs. everyone" caused a special kind of unity, even if the Warriors really weren't disrespected. Coaches can help lure free agents and the Warriors did get one of the best on the market last summer in Andre Iguodala.
And don't be naive and think that keeping Curry happy isn't important. The Warriors have Curry locked up through the 2016-17 season, but an unhappy superstar is a bad ingredient in the soup of success.
Jackson's improved this team dramatically, especially defensively. In his first season, the Warriors won 23 games, then 47 last season and 51 this go- around. Golden State won a round in the playoff a year ago and became a legitimate fringe-level contender.
"I remember when I got here four years ago, the thought of having a playoff team here in Oakland was ways off," forward David Lee said. "Now, we've done it two years in a row."
And they've established a solid nucleus around Curry, a superstar, and Lee, an All-Star. Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut go along with youngsters Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes to form a very talented group. Is it a championship-caliber group? Nope, but the Warriors can build.
Golden State took the Los Angeles Clippers to the limit in the first round before falling in a surprisingly tight Game 7 at the Staples Center. Jackson got his team within a game of the potential series upset, and he did it without Bogut, who sat with a cracked rib. It probably would help for Jackson to have his defensive anchor out there when L.A.'s DeAndre Jordan averaged 12.1 points, 15.1 rebounds and four blocks.
Jackson's record speaks for itself. The Warriors have been a tough out in the playoffs the last two seasons. Coaches don't get fired for success and Jackson's no different.
If he gets let go, it'll be because of pride, both on his end and Lacob's. The Warriors were a joke franchise through much of the last 15 years and Jackson established an identity and provided credibility. Truthfully, his rough- around-the-edges style is a big reason why.
And it's a big reason why he might get fired.
"I don't pay attention to it," Jackson said. "I work every single day with a passion and a commitment, like it's my last. I'm trying to be a blessing to people, I'm trying to impact people and that's the way I live my life. That's the way I coach. I don't get caught up in it. I'm totally confident and have total faith that no matter what, I'm going to be fine, and that's even if I'm a full-time pastor. It's going to work out."