It's been a while since basketball in the Bay Area has been alive and well, and oh boy, it sure is living good right now. The Golden State Warriors have shown that they can go head-to-head with the best teams in the NBA, and they now have a legitimate shot of beating the San Antonio Spurs and heading to the Western Conference Finals. Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has instilled his club a winning, team-first mentality.
In late 2011, Mark Jackson met with Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers at their facility in Santa Clara. The visit was a productive one during which Coach Jackson certainly learned a thing or two.
Jackson noticed Harbaugh's coaching style in practice right away:
"You watch Coach Harbaugh running around in drills and trash-talking and hugging guys and touching them," Jackson said of the practice he visited.
Will he join his players the same way? "Depends on how I feel," he said, half-seriously."
The players love coaches Harbaugh and Jackson because of their coaching styles; both are enthusiastic and hard-nosed at the same time. They both epitomize the "players coach," building players up and not breaking them down. Both coaches speak with strength, while also carrying a big stick. It's known who's boss but they also respect and care about their players. Just watch Jackson talk to the team during a timeout or Harbaugh in the locker room after a game and you will know what I mean.
Blue Collar Team
The Warriors are a physical team; they are a tough and defensive-minded group of guys. In Jackson's first year, Golden State traded for Andrew Bogut, a great move to make their team a more physical, better-rebounding squad. The Warriors are a tough team that grinds out games and wears other teams down, a bit like the 49ers. The 49ers' offensive line is one of the most physical in the NFL, and their defense one of the most ferocious. Parallels can be made between both teams in their physical approach to their respective sports.
Handling the Media
It's interesting to listen to Jackson's press conferences. Like Harbaugh, Jackson never divulges too much information, and never throws his players under the bus. In the first round against the Denver Nuggets, a reporter mentioned to Jackson how the nation is seeing the birth of a star. Jackson responded by stating, "Well, those guys are just coming to the hospital. The baby has been born already, we've been watching it all year long. He's put this team on his back." Humorous to some, while also a truthful and intelligent way of answering a question that was phrased in a way he didn't like.
Backs against the wall
The Warriors are down in their current series 3-2, and could be eliminated by the end of the evening. We've seen some impressive comebacks from the 49ers in the Harbaugh-era, and Harbaugh was known as "Captain Comeback" as a player. Hopefully the Warriors continue to show they have a flair for the dramatic and pull off a comeback in the series. This season has been too enjoyable to end now.
For those who don't really follow basketball, I am sorry to bore you, but other 49ers care. Colin Kaepernick, Trent Baalke and Jed York have all been at playoff games of the Warriors showing their support, and I encourage you to do the same. It's great to see Bay Area teams support one another, and hopefully this trend continues for years to come. This may not end up being "the year" for Golden State, but dancing days are here again, and the future is bright. You can catch Game Six tonight at 8:30 p.m. PT.
Trent is ready for the 2nd half twitter.com/JedYork/status…— Jed York (@JedYork) May 11, 2013