He erased it.
With training camp set to start Saturday, Jackson said he viewed the number as a target on his team and a limitation on its potential. Instead, his message to players is to stop projecting success and “make it happen.”
“Anything can happen where that could be a great number or it could be a number where you’re putting a ceiling on us,” Jackson said Tuesday. “So I say let’s roll the dice, let’s go out and play, let’s compete, let’s gain chemistry and let’s build upon what we did last year.”
Blending the new talent together with the old will be Jackson’s job this season. The same bold and boisterous coach who promised a playoff berth two years ago but didn’t deliver is suddenly trying to manage expectations after leading the team to a thrilling run to the Western Conference semifinals.
Golden State, which finished 47-35 to earn the conference’s sixth seed last season, has reason to be optimistic.
All five starters — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut — are back and healthy. The team also added prized free agent Andre Iguodala — who will likely start at small forward, with Barnes coming off the bench — along with veterans Jermaine O’Neal, Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas after losing Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry in free agency.
“I want us to believe that if we do what we’re supposed to do, it’s going to be a lot of fun around here,” Jackson said. “And my message to them is: ‘Make it happen.’”
While the added depth gives Golden State more flexibility, how Jackson mixes and matches lineups — and keeps everybody happy — remains unclear. He said the starting lineup and overall rotation will “play itself out” in the preseason, which includes a pair of exhibitions in China against the Los Angeles Lakers.