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Scalabrine says Mark Jackson didn’t push Warriors’ players hard enough

Aug 6, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

There are a number of reasons Mark Jackson is not now the coach of the Golden State Warriors. While some of that is on-the-court — management thought the Warriors offense was too vanilla — a lot of it was just a divide of organizational vs. locker room culture and how both Jackson and ownership dealt with that.

But there may have been another basketball issue — did Jackson push his players hard enough?

Former Warriors’ assistant coach Brian Scalabrine — who was demoted to the D-league in the middle of last season and has an ax to grind — said he didn’t think Jackson was demanding enough. Scalabrine, who is returning to the media side of the table in Boston for this season, spoke with the Bay Area News Group about Jackson’s coaching style.

“I think to win in this league you have to drive and push, and I feel like the players will respond to that,” Scalabrine said. “And I think that was the biggest thing about this disappointment in our staff as a staff, right? We could have done more, and we didn’t, and I think he kind of sensed that.

“At the end of the day, to say it was a difference of philosophy, a difference of opinion, I mean, that’s really what it was. And I’m so used to seeing like a Doc Rivers and a Tom Thibodeau (his former coaches), and it kind of threw me for like kind of a loop and a surprise that it was not as hard-pressing as I thought it was going to be.”

Thibodeau is an old-school, grinder coach who works his guys hard, plays them hard and demands accountability each time out. Rivers is different in style, there is no coach in the league who cancels in-season practice more than Rivers (it’s not close), but he does demand a high-level of performance from a veteran team. Rivers has the advantage of having Chris Paul (and Blake Griffin and others) in his locker room to demand that accountability from teammates.

But all great coaches demand a lot of their players. Doesn’t matter the level or the sport, the best coaches set the bar high and challenge/motivate/teach players to reach it. One of Phil Jackson’s great gifts was that he convinced players that where the bar was set or what role they needed to play to get there was their own idea, not his (we all buy into our own ideas faster than those imposed on us).

Jackson certainly worked hard as a player and led teammates to get to that level, but doing it as a coach is a different dynamic.

That said, the players on that team LOVED Jackson and didn’t like how his exit went down (notice there were no “looking forward to working with Steve Kerr” tweets when he was hired). They played hard for him, if not always smart.

Whether Kerr can get that same level of commitment and whether he can push those players harder remains to be seen. But he needs to if he wants to best his predecessor.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Scal a snake.

    • justanacehole - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Specifically, a white mamba.

      • themars211 - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        More like a rat.

  2. divan22 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Steve Kerr MUST get Steph Curry to remove the “contested 3-pointer with 16+ seconds still on the shotclock” move out of his repertoire.

    It’s a terrible basketball play even when he makes them. And I’m a Warriors fan.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      I totally agree with you unless he’s hot. Then I want Curry shooting from anywhere inside half court. He’s got the sweetest, silky smoothiest shot I’ve ever seen.

  3. themars211 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Scalabrine should STFU. Dude is full of himself. Each coach has his own style. They coach the way that seem fit. There is not one standard way that works.

    • themars211 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      I meant seem fit for them.

  4. wilsonsoriano - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    I whole heartedly agree with the white mamba re: mark jackson not pushing the warriors hard enough, it showed, I saw it with my own eyes. mostly everybody could tell that mark jackson was just too nice and I can’t blame mark jackson for it, that’s him, a good Christian brother. and I can see scalabrine saying that because where he came from (Chicago/Thibodeau and Boston-Doc Rivers) had a rigid old school setting and system. I think he is right, that’s why my first choice of coaches was Lionel Hollins, he is ol school, but now that S Kerr has surrounded himself with Alvin Gentry and Adams, look out!

    • themars211 - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      All those coaches you named have 1 championship combined. Phil use to lay off his players and let them figure it out. Each coach does it the way they feel is right. No right or wrong way to coach. More like whatever works for you. I could see if Jackson was not having success, but he was. The team needed upgrade in players not necessarily the coach.

      • bullredd23 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Scal is a roach. I work around back stabbing traitors like him. He’s just about sold himself out. Nobody will trust him after that. Thats like being locked up and tricking on folks. That gutless piece of trash. Thing is. Mark Jackson will get another shot. No player in the league will ever trust scal again. Snitch. Snitch. Snitch.

      • bullredd23 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Then he says that Steve Kerr offered him a job. If thats true i can understand him turning it down because he can’t face those players after what he’s done. They wouldn’t trust him nor respect him. Towel waving clown.

  5. hurricanegrabowski - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Look at the people bagging on the White Mamba. He just got hired by the media, expect more criticizing tidbits like this. It comes with the territory. And it’s not like what he said was scathing, he could have worded it more harshly if he chose.

    • themars211 - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      He should have chose to be more loyal to his head coach and do his job. Instead he chose to be a sniveling little rat and go behind his back to management. I see why Mark Jackson didn’t want him on his staff.

      • hurricanegrabowski - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        Sniveling little rat? It’s glaringly obvious you didn’t even bother to read the article, looks like the headline drew you in. If you can see why Mark Jackson didn’t want him on his staff, maybe you can see why the Warriors wouldn’t want to keep Jackson as their coach. It’s not like Scals was coming out at the time getting on Jackson, this is months later.

  6. Lujah - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Yet they made the playoffs two out of the three years he was there. All these snakes talking trash and bashing him as soon as he was thrown out the door. Says a lot about their character.

    • badge3832 - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:22 PM

      He’s in the media now. I got no problem with him talking. It’s not like he was revealing deep secrets.

  7. hurricanegrabowski - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Sniveling little rat? It’s glaringly obvious you didn’t even bother to read the article, looks like the headline drew you in. If you can see why Mark Jackson didn’t want him on his staff, maybe you can see why the Warriors wouldn’t want to keep Jackson as their coach. It’s not like Scals was coming out at the time getting on Jackson, this is months later.

    • hurricanegrabowski - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      It’d be nice if this site allowed you to delete and/or edit duplicate posts. That option must cost extra money.

  8. zoomy123 - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Jackson didn’t demand much out of his team? Then how did they overachieve by having a 4th ranked defense? And who was pushing Klay to become a better defender? Jackson had that boy suped up so much he was believing that he could guard CP3! And sometimes he even did a great job. Sure Bogut being healthy helped but not enough to make their defensive ranking jump 10 spots in 1 year.

  9. campcouch - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    They seemed to do pretty good not being pushed. I hope Scalabrine remembers this when his next coaching opportunity happens. The guy hiring you might bring this up. He’s worked under some good coaches but apparently being a talking head for CSN is the best he could muster. Maybe his demotion was warranted. It’s possible that Mark Jackson didn’t see eye to eye with a loudmouth or someone cursing at the players all practice, and maybe that’s why the players liked him. Having an amicable boss is way better than having an ogre growling everyday.

  10. bkallday52 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    too be quite honest. …Golden State Just isn’t that good. With Steve Kerr they will still be in the second tier of Playoff teams in the west . They Need to make more trades. Great Team To watch though

  11. aldavis4president - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    Not that good? Not to be biased or anything but I don’t think you watch many warriors games. They were the only team to give San Antonio a run for their money 2years ago, and last year we lost all 3 of our centers before playoffs started and still took clippers to 7. Injuries to bout, Lee and curry have really kept us from reaching their potential. As far as scal goes, every coach has Theodore methods of coaching, mark Jackson Let’s his players play and learn on the fly. Kerr has some big shoes to fill IMO.

  12. joeksnuffy - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    The warriors didn’t play that hard for him. They were very inconsistent. They would beat Miami and OKC on the road and then turn around and inexplicably lose to Washington, Minnesota, Charlotte, Cleveland, NYK, and Denver at home. They played hard for Jackson at times and then laid some eggs, too. The warriors could have won another 4 to 5 games if they had that consistent intensity, especially at home. Hopefully Kerr can get that from this team.

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