For the longest time, simply being relevant was an uphill battle for the Golden State Warriors.
Those days are over. Relevance is no longer enough.
Co-owner Joe Lacob, who's had a championship blueprint in his mind since the moment his group purchased the franchise in 2010, is ready to see some better results.
The team's rabid fanbase is ready to see them, too.
"Bottom line, net-net as we say, is that we are 31-21, and we have not played as well as we need to play," Lacob said in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. "We’ve been very inconsistent at home."
Golden State is 5-5 in its last 10 games at Oracle Arena and 16-9 at home overall. Last season, the Warriors ripped off 28 wins in their 41 home games.
The collection of home efforts hasn't been great, but there are a few blemishes on the record that stand out in Lacob's mind, and those could prove costly down the line:
But at home we’ve lost a couple games–to Minnesota and to San Antonio when they played their scrubs, if you remember… and Denver and Charlotte. Maybe another, four games that we just absolutely should’ve won...If we had (won those games), that’s the difference between really being let’s say 35-17 and being 31-21 now. We could be tied essentially with the Clippers for fourth.
What did Lacob see as the problem in those bad losses?
"The team wasn’t ready in those games," he said. "I can’t explain it–why we don’t play so consistently at home as we should."
This roster isn't perfect—over-reliant on three-point shooters, short on offensive creators, inconsistent scorers on the bench, nonexistent defenders in the starting five—but it does seem better than the team's record indicates. If this group's biggest problem is energy, or rather, the lack thereof, that would seem to point the finger at coach Mark Jackson.
Lacob didn't go that far, but he didn't absolve Jackson of any wrongdoing, either.
"I do think our coach has done a good job–we have had some big wins, a lot of wins on the road, and that’s usually a sign of good coaching. But some things are a little disturbing–the lack of being up for some of these games at home, that’s a concern to me," Lacob said.
How concerning? Lacob didn't say.
His actions, however, might be a strong indication of his feelings:
Lacob not giving Jackson the extension he wants is more telling than anything he could say on the matter.— Jordan Ramirez (@JRAM_91) February 12, 2014
Jackson's under contract through next season, but all has been quiet on the extension front.
That's not to say Lacob's searching for a replacement, but the owner does seem to always keep at least one eye open:
It’s pretty clear Lacob has doubts about Jackson. He is always looking for a blockbuster, maybe it comes in the form of a new coach.— Jordan Ramirez (@JRAM_91) February 12, 2014
If Lacob does want a major shakeup, it might have to come from the coaching ranks. The Warriors are short on movable assets, and the owner doesn't sound ready to part with any of them:
We’d be very reluctant to trade any of our core pieces; we like our core. And our young core players–Curry, Klay and Barnes—a lot of teams like them because we’re getting specific trade proposals on a daily basis about those players. We are not anxious nor are we likely to make a move involving those players.
I'm not sure if that qualifies as good or bad news for Warriors fans.
On the one hand, Golden State's found a core with enough talent to remain entrenched in the playoff picture. However, it's been a while since this team seemed as if it had the parts needed to make a prolonged postseason run.
Lacob can see the direction his team is headed, and he's not happy about it. The question now becomes whether he's unhappy to the point that he'll feel a change is needed.