Mark Jackson might have raised some controversy with his grey-area between coaching and preaching, but whatever the case may be his Golden State Warriors made vast improvements from his first year to his second. For that, the team picked up Jackson's option that will keep him under contract through the 2014-15 season.
The Warriors went 47-35 in 2012-13 and more impressively advanced to the Western Conference semifinals where they fell in six games to the conference champion San Antonio Spurs. The work Jackson put in came in both the improvement from a 23-43 record during the 2011-12 lockout season but also in the improvement of young stars.
Jackson's faith -- in more than one way -- in players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes gave Golden State one of the more entertaining offenses in the league this past year, but it was the Warriors' commitment to defense that put them over the top.
In Jackson's first season, the Warriors were 27th in the league in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Golden State jumped to 14th in defensive ratings during the 2012-13 season.
That could improve next year. The Warriors will add All-Star Andre Iguodala into the fold this coming season.