It's a new era for the Golden State Warriors, with owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber leading the franchise and head coach Mark Jackson plucked from the ESPN broadcast booth to mold the players into winners. No one's quite sure what the team is going to look like a few years from now, but Chris Cohan and his cronies being nowhere near the franchise's Oakland offices has bred a good amount of optimism. Still, the new braintrust hasn't proven much of anything -- Lacob and Guber have had just one transitional season as owners and Jackson has never coached at any level.
Ultimately, they'll only be able to win over fans with wins. But, for now, they're trying in other ways. On Wednesday, the Warriors held an event for roughly 3,000 fans at Oracle Arena. Based on comments from the team's head honchos, they are setting some huge goals. From Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (via TBJ):
"Don't stand up and clap when we're a playoff basketball team, because we won't be standing up and clapping as a team," Jackson said. "Our ultimate goal will be to hang a championship banner."
Those kinds of stirring and outrageous statements were the norm as about 3,000 Warriors season-ticket holders listened to a panel discussion with the team's hierarchy, including Jackson, co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and executive board member Jerry West. [...]
The foursome was introduced to the crowd like a team's starting lineup. They took seats at midcourt under blue and yellow lighting as some of the league's elite introduced each one via previously recorded video. David Stern introduced Lacob, Magic Johnson for Guber, Pat Riley for West and Reggie Miller for Jackson.
Wow, it is really too perfect to have Miller introduce Jackson. I mean, not only were they teammates in Indiana, but they have also been the two most widely despised announcers of NBA games for the last two seasons. I bet they even traded tips on how to spout off even more cliches about a sport they understand at an expert level.
The real issue here, of course, is not related to Jackson's famous friend. Instead, it's figuring out why a coach with no experience whatsoever would pretend that the playoffs are an insubstantial goal for a team that's made the postseason twice in the last 19 seasons. When the "We Believe" team made the playoffs as the eighth seed in 2007, fans jumped for joy. I know, I was one of them. Beating the Mavericks that year was just considerable icing on the cake.
I understand the idea behind Jackson's quotes: He wants to shoot for the highest heights of the sport, and that competitiveness is noble. On the other hand, he's also setting himself up for failure. It's perfectly fine to set multiple goals for his team, the last of which should definitely be winning a championship. To act as if anything short of ultimate glory isn't worth cheering is pigheaded and irresponsible. Making the playoffs would be a terrific step in the right direction for a franchise that hasn't had a coherent plan for some time now. Fans are smart enough to realize that these things take time.
Jackson's biggest problem with the Warriors is that, because he hasn't coached a single game, he appears to be all talk with no substance. These comments do nothing to dispel those concerns. As long as he makes ridiculous promises, he might find it difficult to get the respect he covets so dearly.