OAKLAND -- Prior to last season, Warriors coach Mark Jackson guaranteed his team would make the playoffs. But Tuesday, in his gaggle with local media in advance of training camp, Jackson stopped short of such proclamations.
"I'm not going to say it," Jackson said. "Not that I don't believe it. But, ultimately, there comes a point where enough of the talking. Go out and do it."
Jackson said he predicted the playoffs last season as a way of raising the bar for the organization. He wanted to establish the postseason as the minimum goal of the franchise so that not making the playoffs would be a disappointment -- even if that meant he would have to answer his critics once it meant his team didn't make the playoffs.
Jackson, as he explained from a conference room at the Warriors' downtown headquarters, such bold statements are not needed. He said the culture is now changed. As evidence, he cites that 14 of the 15 players on the roster (all but veteran center Andris Biedrins) have been working out together at the team's facilities since Labor Day.
"We've already made the statement," Jackson said. "Everybody knows what the culture is around here. When you look in that gym, there is a different culture."
Still, Jackson, in his second year leading the Warriors, won't go any further than saying "I certainly hope" Golden State makes the playoffs. He did note that several Western Conference teams improved this past offseason and
But Jackson said his team is undoubtedly better this year.
The addition of center Andrew Bogut -- who is questionable for the start of training camp Tuesday but expected to be ready for the Oct. 31 season opener -- gives the Warriors reputed top-five center in the league when healthy. Point guard Stephen Curry has been unlimited in his workouts since being cleared for full practice last week and the Warriors are expecting a career year from him.
Jackson said he feels comfortable putting David Lee up against any power forward in the league. Second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson is coming off promising rookie season and the Warriors added plenty depth, highlighted by the acquisitions of veteran guard Jarrett Jack, veteran big man Carl Landry and rookie forward Harrison Barnes.
That's a welcomed change from last season when Jackson had to manage a shortened training camp and preseason due to the lockout, injuries in his regular rotation and a midseason trade that put the 2011-12 season out of its misery.
But with the re-tooling of the roster comes increased expectations from Jackson.
"We've got a bunch of young, enthusiastic, energetic guys. We're certainly better than we have been. ... There is added pressure across the board. I don't run from it. I embrace it."