"It's no secret. We're a good basketball team," Jackson said, perched before the media at the team's practice facility. "I'm not going to lie. We've come a long way."
That means Jackson, entering his third season as Golden State's head coach, is going to have to draw from a different well for his trademark inspiring speeches. The underdog stuff won't fly this time around.
Jackson wouldn't exactly call his squad the hunted, even after they reached the Western Conference semifinals and gave San Antonio a scare. But he is preparing his team to play from ahead.
"We're going to have to take care of business every night," Jackson said. "We're not going to sneak up on anybody. That's for sure. ... Our mentality remains the same. That's somebody else's issue or a problem if now all of a sudden they see us as a threat. ... That's not our problem. We know who we are and our mindset has been consistent from Day 1."
The Warriors are expected by many to make the climb from the No. 6 seed into the top half of the Western Conference. Jackson, who has watched most of his players work out for the last three weeks, is seeing no reason to think otherwise.
He said starting center Andrew Bogut is fully healthy and has looked great. Star guard Stephen Curry dominance has left Jackson shaking his head. Second-year forward Harrison Barnes is bigger and stronger.
The additions of swingman Andre Iguodala, forward Marreese Speights, guard Toney Douglas and center Jermaine O'Neal figures to give Jackson the kind of depth and flexibility most teams covet.
"I just know we're a good basketball team," Jackson said, "and it's going to be a lot of fun."