Klay Thompson defends Mark Jackson for time as Warriors coach
Few people look back fondly on Mark Jackson’s tenure as Golden State Warriors coach, but one of his former players definitely does.
Injured Warriors star Klay Thompson spoke Friday on ESPN’s broadcast of his team’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. During the interview, Thompson shouted out Jackson, who now works as an analyst for the network and was on the call for the game.
“Give Coach Jackson credit,” said Thompson. “Before anybody else, [before] anybody believed in us, Coach Jackson did. He called me and Steph [Curry] the greatest shooting duo of all-time. I mean, that couldn’t have come more true. Just kind of a testament to your ability to read the game. They called you crazy, but at the time …”
Jackson, who coached the Warriors from 2011 to 2014, was Thompson’s first head coach in the league. He laid the framework for the Warriors to become a dynasty, taking them from a 23-win lottery team in his first season to a 51-win playoff team in his final season.
Granted, the Warriors did not actually become that dynasty until Steve Kerr took over. Kerr built a strong culture, implemented a lethal offensive system around Curry and Thompson, and made a bunch of tactical changes, such as starting Draymond Green. As for Jackson, he has yet to coach in the league since then (in addition to some unsavory details emerging about his time in Golden State). But regardless of all that, Thompson feels Jackson should get more credit for planting the seed that ultimately led to the Warriors’ three-ring juggernaut.
Photo: May 14, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) stands on the court before the start of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports