Here is my Friday column. WARNING: This is a Warriors column. 49ers fans — feel free to skip this.
Is Mark Jackson a good head coach?
That’s the most important question the Warriors face this All-Star Break. Is Jackson the right coach for them, or should they replace him at the end of this season? Some coaches can only bring a coach just so far, and they need another coach to seal the deal. We’ll soon find out if Jackson is that kind of coach.
Let’s assess Jackson’s season by the numbers.
The Warriors’ record. Not bad. Not as good as they expected they would be before the season began.
The Warriors’ standing in their conference. They currently hold the eighth and final spot for the Western Conference playoffs. 9 would be very bad.
The Warriors’ tiny little lead over the Memphis Grizzlies for the last playoff spot in the West.
The Warriors’ record when they beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 7. After that game, the Warriors were tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth-best record in the West.
The Warriors’ record after the Bucks game — the past 16 games. It’s like they turned into a completely different team, call them the Bad Warriors. Only 10 teams had worse records during the past 16 games, and the Grizzlies were not one of them. They were 12-4.
The field goal percentage opponents shot during the first half against the Good Warriors (Oct. 30-Jan. 7). That’s great defense, seventh-best in the NBA. Mark Jackson always says the Warriors are a “defensive-minded team,” and they proved him right the first half of the season. They played good, tough defense all game.
A troubling number. That is the field goal percentage opponents shot during the first half against the Bad Warriors (since Jan. 8). That ranks second-worst in the NBA. Defense mostly comes down to effort, and the Bad Warriors don’t give the effort during the first half. After halftime when they’re desperate, they give the effort – opponents shot just 41.2 percent in the second half against the Bad Warriors, fourth-best defense in the NBA. The Warriors shouldn’t have to be desperate before they play defense. A good head coach prepares his team to play hard from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Mark Jackson got those results from his team until about five weeks ago. Now, his team comes out flat.
Mark Jackson must ask himself why.
The field goal percentage opponents shot in the first quarter against the Bad Warriors. That percentage is the highest in the league. That means this issue is not a bench issue. The starters repeatedly came out flat. Jackson couldn’t get even his most experienced guys to give a consistent effort. Troubling.
The value of Andre Iguodala’s four-year contract with the Warriors.
Iguodala’s rebounding average this season, the lowest of his career. He is having his worst season in almost every way you can imagine. Odd. Iguodala still is relatively young – he turned 30 in January. And he played well last season for George Karl and the Denver Nuggets. Jackson should be able to get more out of Iguodala.
Iguodala’s points-per-game scoring average, his lowest scoring average since his rookie season in 2004-2005. Jackson has not integrated Iguodala into the Warriors’ offense. What is Jackson waiting for? There are only 29 games left in the regular season.
The number of times Iguodala has shot every 36 minutes this season – the league calibrates based on 36 minutes. 7.9 is the lowest shots-attempted average on the Warriors, lower than Andrew Bogut’s and Draymond Green’s. For that, the Warriors are paying him $48 million?
182 and 1,000
There are 182 players who have played at least 1,000 minutes this season. Iguodala is one of them.
Just three of those 182 players have shot less frequently than Iguodala. One player is 33-year-old small forward Gerald Wallace. The other two are centers, guys who can’t shoot – Kendrick Perkins and DeAndre Jordan.
Last season, Iguodala shot 11.4 times every 36 minutes, a reasonable amount of shots for him. Jackson should be able to figure out a way to get Iguodala 11 good shots per game. Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob pays Jackson to do that.
You have to wonder how much better Iguodala would be this season if the Warriors still had their top assistant coach and play-designer, Mike Malone. He might have had a plan for Iguodala, but Malone took the Sacramento Kings’ head coaching job during the offseason.
The number of additional seasons Jackson will coach the Warriors if they don’t make the playoffs.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at email@example.com.