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Does Mark Jackson Have to Make the Playoffs This Season to Keep His Job?

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors questions a call during their game against the Utah Jazz  at Oracle Arena on January 7, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
James PearsonCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2012

Mark Jackson has the talent to lead the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs this year, but should be retained even if he doesn’t.

We can forever debate whether he was the right man for the job to start with, but he is here and deserves a fair chance to succeed.

Last season, Jackson was thrown into the fire.

He had no prior head coaching experience, no offseason and no training camp. What man would succeed in that scenario? He was trying to play defense with a team that couldn’t hold a high school team under 70 points. There was next to zero chance he was going to be successful last season.

Jackson was set up to fail last year.

Actually, the Warriors were actively trying to fail!

As soon as management realized last season wasn't going anywhere, they traded their best player for an injured player. They proceeded to lose as many games as possible to ensure they kept their own draft pick.

Should Jackson get the blame for that?

This season is essentially Jackson's first year as head coach. He gets a full offseason, training camp and the right players to implement his philosophy.

He now has a fair shot at being a rookie NBA head coach. One year doesn't seem long enough to decide his fate.

Jackson does have the team to compete for a playoff spot.

The problem? So do 10 other teams in the Western Conference. His future shouldn't be based solely on making the playoffs.

If he makes improvements to make the Warriors a winning basketball team, even without a playoff berth, he should get at least one more year.

Looking at the Warriors payroll, that's exactly what he should get.

Jackson signed a three-year deal (with a team option on the fourth year), and it sets up perfectly with the Warriors' expiring contracts.

Golden State can clear $45 million off their books in two years (though, expect them to keep Thompson, Barnes etc.) if they are going to bring in a new coach and philosophy. That would be the time to do it—not when half the team is playing for a new deal.

This year's roster has a lot of new pieces. They need time to gel and learn a new system.

Why go through a change next year when most of the roster may not be back?

Warrior’s owner Joe Lacob is a smart man. I doubt he would hire a man with no prior head coaching experience and give him only one full year to make it work. He knew what he was getting into when he hired Jackson. He hired him because he believes that he can guide this team to success and that he deserves a fair chance.

The Warriors have the talent to make the playoffs, and the Warriors hired him to do just that.

Jackson should be coaching for a team that believes he can win. He should not be coaching to avoid getting fired if he doesn't.

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