The NBA’s All-Defensive teams were announced on Monday, and no Golden State Warrior received a vote. Pretty standard, especially for a Warriors team that ranked only 14th in defensive efficiency during the regular season, a squad whose best defender (Andrew Bogut) has first team potential, but struggled throughout the regular season with ankle woes.
In his never-ending quest to motivate his young club, Mark Jackson offered up the sort of “us against the world”-technique that has worked so well for him this season. Here’s his response, as quoted by Rusty Simmons at SF Gate:
“Get in line,” Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said before his team flew from the Bay Area to San Antonio for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. “Our executive finished in seventh place. Steph Curry was home during All-Star week. Joe Lacob is probably the No. 7 owner in the league. Harrison Barnes didn’t get any Rookie of the Year votes. He shouldn’t have been the Rookie of the Year, but he should be First-Team All-Rookie. Jarrett Jack wasn’t the Sixth Man of the Year. The only thing they got right was me.”
Jackson finished seventh in the Coach of the Year voting, which was announced last week. Meanwhile, his team has made marked strides — doubling last season’s win total and improving their standing in opponent’s field-goal percentage and defensive rebounding by more than 20 spots among the league.
Of course, this is Jackson’s job. It’s not his job to get the voting correct (though his peers in the coaching ranks made some questionable choices with their picks with the All-Defensive teams), it’s his job to trump up the confidence of a team in its first playoff run, attempting to knock off a San Antonio Spurs franchise that has been through several long playoff conquests.
It’s my job to get it right, and while I think it pretty bogus that Stephen Curry was not an All-Star, his deserved presence on the team in February should have probably come at teammate David Lee’s expense. And while Bogut is one of my favorite players when healthy, and he’s shown All-Defensive mettle during the postseason (while still clearly hurt), he just wasn’t up to his old tricks in the regular season. And the Warriors, while improved under the “defensive mindset” that Jackson brought up later in his interview with Simmons, still aren’t quite a knockout defensive squad.
They’re a knockout squad overall, though, thanks in large part to the work of Jackson and his staff. The Warriors are so highly regarded that most are still calling the team’s Western Conference semifinals with the Spurs a tossup, despite it turning into a best-of three series with two games left to be potentially played in San Antonio. Sometimes great teams receive very little postseason award recognition, and I’m sure each and every award winner from this awards season would gladly trade in votes or even hardware for a chance to be still playing on May 14.
(Save for J.R. Smith. Not because he isn’t a competitor, but because the Sixth Man Award winner looks really sick today. Probably would prefer that Game 4 between the Knicks and Pacers be delayed.)
Jackson’s mini-gripe wasn’t all for naught, though. The NBA released its All-Rookie teams on Tuesday, and Harrison Barnes made the cut – and deservedly so. Good lookin’ out, coach.