There will be no uplifting words from Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson today.
Golden State has lost four of its last six games, the most recent of which had Jackson fuming. Speaking with reporters following the Warriors' 106-102 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, he began to question his team's effort and heart, according to CSN Bay Area's Monte Poole:
We are not playing 48 minutes with a sense of urgency. That's the disappointing part. Right now, I would say it's not a slow start. We're not playing with a sense of urgency.
We came in talking about being the hardest-working team because (Phoenix) plays extremely hard and they're talented. And we did not do that. I'm disappointed and we've got to find answers, individually and collectively.
I'm finding that the guys in suits and ties want it more than the guys in the uniforms.
You almost never hear glass-half-full, my-team-is-better-than-your-team Mark Jackson upbraid his Warriors. He's usually one to look on the bright side, find silver linings and talk in hyperbole. But there's not much to smile or brag about within their locker room these days.
Since beginning the season 8-3 and emerging as a powerhouse, Golden State is 5-9 and now ninth in the Western Conference, 1.5 games back of the final playoff spot.
Andre Iguodala's absence has absolutely killed them as well. He has missed 12 straight games while nursing a hamstring injury, and the Warriors are 5-7 during that stretch, coinciding with their fall from grace.
It has gotten so bad that players cannot disagree with Jackson's recent criticism.
"I absolutely agree," David Lee said of his coach's critique, per Poole.
"We haven’t played a 48-minute game in a long time," Draymond Green admitted.
"They're putting together good game plans and we're just not executing them right now," Stephen Curry added.
Morale appears to be at an all-time low, where it was once invulnerable. This team was supposed to contend, not dwell outside the playoff picture next to lottery-bound contingents. And Jackson would never doubt his Warriors, even in their darkest hour. Not him.
When wins didn't pile up, when the Warriors strayed away from their path of success, he would be the positive, forward-thinking one.
"We feel real good about where we're headed," Jackson said, following his team's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 9, via the San Jose Mercury News' Matt Schwab. "We're gonna be fine. We're not jumping off a cliff."
Where will the Warriors finish in the Western Conference?
Losses have started to mount, and Jackson is no longer referencing that rose-colored future. How can he when his team's effort isn't there? Execution is one thing; simply trying is another.
Excuses don't exist for a lack of heart, especially when players aren't offering them. They agree with Jackson—the diligence isn't there, which is beyond unnerving.
"We're going to get it right," Jackson posited, via Poole. "But you have to call it what it is."
Golden State may in fact get it right, but Jackson's correct, you must call this what it is. And right now, what the Warriors are doing, and the manner in which they're losing, is disturbing.