Stephen Jackson Signing Puts Damper on Warriors' Future

Kevin O'BrienCorrespondent INovember 17, 2008

Golden State's decision to sign forward Stephen Jackson to a three year contract extension is a peculiar one, especially with all the heat surrounding Chris Mullin and his future as Golden State's VP of operations. The main problem Jackson's signing presents is that it sends the signal that the Warriors are still competing for a playoff berth and want to win now rather than in the future.

The problem with this, however, is they are no longer structured to win now. Nelson plays like he wants to win now, limiting his lineup to eight players a night and playing many of the starters 40 plus regularly, but the bottom line is that this team is one that needs to play for the future. Nelson and the Warriors need to be sticking their young guys into the lineup more regularly.

With Harrington out of the lineup they're doing that, but it's not nearly enough. The Warriors should be playing their higher paid rookies like Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph, and even Marco Belinelli the quality minutes, not players like DeMarcus Nelson and C.J. Watson.

The Jackson deal complicates the Warriors' future plans further, because while Jackson is a good player, he is not the kind of leader that can spearhead this team by himself. Last year, it was a good decision to have him as one of the three captains. This year, however, I'm not positive he can handle such responsibility. He has never been the centerpiece of any NBA franchise and his offensive game has always been the kind that complements rather than dominates.

Last year, with Davis on the team and Ellis healthy, this deal would have been fantastic. But this year, expecting him to lead a lineup that age wise, is the youngest in the league, is unreasonable. Jackson won't be able to do that by himself and once they fall out of contention, things will start to get rocky in the Bay Area.

Warrior fans are definitely accustomed to losing, but it's safe to say that after the playoff run two years ago, they have become less patient than before. With Mullin's top assistant fired a couple of weeks ago, Jackson's signing may be a panic move by Mullin in order to win back over with fans, who have been quite disgusted with some of his decisions after the playoff run.

All Jackson's signing does is delay the inevitable, which will be the time when Nelson is gone and a new coach focuses on developing their current talent, rather than burying them on the bench. Since that's not going to happen soon, a lot of bad things could be in store for the Warriors, especially with the emergence of many teams in the Western Conference.