From now until the end of time, Mark Jackson will always appear to have some resentment toward the Golden State Warriors.
The NBA on ESPN analyst and former Warriors coach called Golden State's NBA Finals rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers for ABC on Friday and said reigning MVP Stephen Curry, who leads the league at 30.8 points per contest, is "hurting the game."
Micah Peters of USA Today's For The Win transcribed Jackson's comments in full:
Steph Curry’s great. Steph Curry’s the MVP. He’s a champion. Understand what I’m saying when I say this. He’s hurting the game. And what I mean by that is that I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids, and the first thing they do is they run to the 3-point line. You are not Steph Curry. Work on the other aspects of the game. People think that he’s just a knock-down shooter.
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago seems to agree with Jackson:
Mark Jackson will get killed for saying that because he’s Mark Jackson but I’m not sure I want to see hoops evolve to just 3-point shots— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) December 26, 2015
Upon hearing about Jackson's comments, Warriors teammate Andrew Bogut was quick to dismiss them, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (h/t Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group), "Anything he says you take with a grain of salt, and you can quote me on that."
Oh, where to begin with this one.
First, Curry is a once-in-a-generation player and sharpshooter, much like Reggie Miller and Ray Allen were. These all-time great shooters come in bunches. The only difference with Curry is he's the superstar on a championship team, and he's the most valuable player on the Warriors.
Comparing what Curry's doing to what high school players are doing is unfair. High school players want to emulate what the pros are doing. If they want to aspire to make hundreds of three-pointers in a season and put in the work to do such, then it's not a bad thing for young players to pattern their game after a superstar.
"I have to talk to him," Curry told Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears. "I don't know what he means by that. If you can shoot, shoot. If you can't, stop."
Apparently, playing style wasn't much of an issue when people were calling Andrew Wiggins the next LeBron James, and this conversation will take place again when LSU freshman Ben Simmons goes pro—these guys are all long, athletic and provide the flashy highlight dunks.
Maybe the NBA wouldn't be a three-point-heavy league if more teams got away from playing zone defense. The Warriors move the ball better than any team in the league, with the possible exception of the San Antonio Spurs.
With guys like Curry and Klay Thompson moving without the ball and being effective in catch-and-shoot situations against a zone, of course there are going to be more open perimeter shots. Maybe it's the zone defense killing the game, not Curry.
Better yet, Curry is making the game fun again. A kid from Davidson becomes the face of the franchise and the league MVP, and he's doing things all non-athletic kids can aspire to do. If he's inspiring kids to take threes and be successful that way, at least he's somehow making a difference.
Remain forever salty, Mark Jackson.