Jackson will start the season serving an eight-game suspension.
John W. McDonough/SI
Last year the Warriors allowed a league-high 106.9 points per game (the most in the NBA since 1996-97) and still made the playoffs. The previous time Golden State gave up that many points (110.9 in '92-93), it went 34-48.
Record: 42-40 (8th in West) Points scored: 106.5 (2nd in NBA) Points allowed: 106.9 (30th) Coach: Don Nelson (second season with Warriors)
Starting anew as captain, this Jack vows to be as nimble as he was last spring
Stephen Jackson is the Warriors in one perplexing 6' 8" package. He's capable
of scoring 20 points in a quarter, then zoning out (we're not talking defense)
in the next. Almost everyone who has ever played with him, say they like him as a person. But he has gotten into
trouble both on the court (two ejections from playoff games last season and a
30-game suspension for charging into the stands during the infamous 2004 riot at
the Palace of Auburn Hills and off it (a guilty plea to criminal recklessness after he fired a
gun outside an Indianapolis strip club last October).
So if you're Warriors coach Don Nelson, what do you do with swingman Jackson,
who returned to camp this season with a large tattoo on his chest of two praying
hands holding a gun in front of a church? You make him a captain, of course, the
role that Jack, as everyone calls him, shares with Baron Davis and Matt Barnes.
"We have great confidence in him as a player and a leader," says Nelson.
Jackson and power forward Al Harrington arrived in the Bay Area after a
midseason trade from the Pacers that seemed to leave the Warriors with a set of
unpredictable mismatched parts. Most observers saw them as a 10th-place team, at
best, in the West, but they came together late in the season and eliminated the
Mavericks in one of the most entertaining playoff series in history. Jackson,
who won't play until the eighth game of the season because of an NBA-imposed
suspension for the felony conviction, insists that the Warriors will build on
that momentum. "We're going to have a full season together, and all the nonsense
is behind me," Jackson says. As evidence of the latter, Jackson explains the
church-gun tat thusly: "I pray I never have to use it [the gun] again." Some
teams might worry about that explanation, but to the Warriors, it is a
pronouncement worthy of a Captain Jack.
-- Jack McCallum