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Mark Jackson defends his communicative abilities with players after an Andrew Bogut guess went awry

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Mark Jackson explains himself. (Getty Images)

Prior to answering questions from reporters, in the minutes following Golden State’s 123-80 whuppin’ of the Philadelphia 76ers, Warriors coach Mark Jackson led his press conference with this:

"I made a statement about Andrew Bogut. My statement said ‘legitimate.’ My statement said I had the same thing. My statement said that he was hurt. Please don’t twist my words. Understand this also — you will never see a problem in my locker room. You will not see a problem in my locker room, with my group. We are tied together, we are committed. This is not the old culture. This is a new culture. Thank you.”

Seems a bit odd, no? What, exactly, was that dastardly media twisting again?

ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss, via Bay Area Sports Guy, asked a follow up question:

Strauss: On the Bogut situation, when you say “please don’t twist my words,” how do you feel your words were twisted?

Jackson: Well, you can make it seem like I said something against Bogut. That he slept and got hurt. I understand how you can take that and think, “Coach just took a shot at him.” I said he legitimately was hurt. I expressed how it happened. So please put the whole thing in there, and not half the story. I was part of the media. I understand how you can make it much more appealing, and go for the home run. But in three years, in the 23-win season, I didn’t throw anybody under the bus. And you can wait and wait and wait, and it won’t happen here until somebody else is sitting here. That’s not my M.O. And contrary to the choir, it won’t be my M.O. I believe in every one of my guys and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do. And I’ll go down being me. I can’t be anybody else.

BASG: Bogut said that he was going to wait until later to talk to you because of pregame preparation. Did you guys talk about it before the game and get it sorted out already?

Jackson: There’s nothing to sort out. My office is always open. We did talk. It’s nothing. My only point is, let’s talk. It’s nothing. You can go to anybody in my locker room. Pick who you want, there’s enough people to cover each and every one of them and ask them how the environment is. It’s a fun time (laughs). I mean, we are 10 games over .500. Some of you guys haven’t seen that in a long, long time. So keep on acting like you have. We’re going to continue to work our tails off and continue to try to be a good basketball team and celebrate how far we’ve come and how much further we’ve got to go.

So, to re-iterate, Mark Jackson doesn’t like the media going “for the home run” with trumped up storylines, and wants the media covering the Warriors (who have split their last 14 games) should be celebrating the fact that, at 31-21, the Golden State Warriors are 10 games over .500 for the first time “in a long, long time.”

So what, exactly, is Mr. Jackson so upset about? It turns out that those jerks in the media went to Andrew Bogut for comment about his coach’s take on his injured shoulder prior to Monday night’s win over Philly. Bogut has missed three games (counting Monday’s absence) with a bruised shoulder, and prior to the contest Jackson guessed that Andrew possibly developed the injury while sleeping.

Which seems like a stretch because, well, there’s a bruise there. From Rusty Simmons at the San Francisco Chronicle:

“As far as I know, it wasn’t on the court. It wasn’t in practice. It wasn’t in a game. I’m not really sure,” Jackson said during his pregame news conference. “It may have been sleeping, and I say that in all seriousness.”

Bogut responded: “I just wanted to address that the sleeping comment is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if I should read between the lines with it. The frustrating thing is: I don’t know when I hurt it against Utah (on Jan. 31). I just know after that game, it was a little sore. It hasn’t gotten better.”

From Diamond Leung at Bay Area News Group:

"It's definitely not the case I just woke up, slept on my shoulder wrong and have a bone bruise and swelling in my shoulder from sleeping, very highly unlikely I believe."

Clearly, Bogut took advantage of Jackson’s open-door policy after being told about Jackson’s “sleeping” take, wondering if he “should read between the lines with it.” Mark Jackson, steamed that reporters would dare follow up what seemed to be a completely implausible statement from the coach, then decided to blame the media for “twist[ing]” his words.

Even though, hours earlier, he said Andrew Bogut may have injured his bruised and swelling shoulder while sleeping. Perhaps Jackson should blame Bogut for not exactly quoting his coach accurately in this game of password. Or maybe Mark Jackson should follow-up with his franchise center and defensive anchor as to when and why he injured his shoulder prior to the pregame presser, and not play the guessing game on record.

Warriors fans should hope that the back and forth should galvanize the team, because in spite of that massive blowout win over the 76ers, and that “10 games over .500”-setting, the Warriors have been a frustrating outfit of late. Despite the team’s reputation and some cable TV hot takes, the team is actually a middling offensive team that is doing its best work with a top three defense. And while the latter portion of that previous statement is admirable – to ape Jackson’s words, this is certainly something you haven’t seen in Golden State in a long, long time – this doesn’t excuse such a talented roster working so averagely offensively.

(When accounting for pace. Because it’s 2014, and we’re all doing that now. Right?)

It’s true that, at times and in certain settings, the Warriors can field a pair of offensive near-zeroes in the fantastic Bogut and equally fantastic Andre Iguodala, and that the disappointing Harrison Barnes and Jordan Crawford have dragged the team’s bench down to the ranks of some of the league’s worst. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson make nearly six and a half three-pointers a game and shoot over 40 percent from deep, there’s your foundation, but the Warriors haven’t been able to build on it enough to pair at least a pretty good offense with its lights-out defense.

There should be some question as to why Golden State gives up on so many possessions in order to play (sometimes spectacular) hero ball, and as to why the Warriors aren’t better than the sum of their parts. Even defensively, with the killer combo of Bogut and Iguodala covering all angles, you feel as if the Warriors are merely grading out to about where they can’t help but be. It’s the coach’s task to put the team over the top, in that regard.

In Jackson’s defense, he’s coaching a brilliant one. The team’s work on that end should still remain underreported until the playoffs, enough to possibly surprise opponents, and even in their current – 7-7 in their last 14 games – setup they’ll have as good a chance as any at making the third round and possibly beyond. The talent, despite the depth woes, is that significant. And the defense is that good.

Still, you get the feeling that things could be better. That’s un-twistable.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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