Mark Jackson was one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. That brilliance translated to the NBA when he went from the television booth to coaching sidelines.
Jackson was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors on June 6, 2011, the first head coach hired by new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
In three seasons, Jackson, 54, went 121-109 and developed All Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Jackson was fired in 2014, despite leading the dubs to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over 20 years with the Warriors.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and the Warriors did won a couple of championships.
But why was Mark Jackson let go?
“I think a small circle of ownership and [Joe] Lacob [Warriors owner] made up his mind that Mark was a certain way and it formed a narrative of how the other owners would feel about him,” former Warriors staffer, Otis Hughley told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
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The Houston Rockets should be an option.
The Rockets have been eliminated by the Warriors four out of the last five years.
In the summer of 2012, the Rockets struck a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks, one second-round pick in exchange for James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward. Before this blockbuster trade, the Rockets hadn’t made the playoffs for the past three seasons. However, after the deal, Harden made the Rockets an instant contender.
On May 27th, 2016, The Athletics’ Calvin Watkins, who was with ESPN at the time, reported that the Rockets were finalizing a deal with Mike D’Antoni to become their head coach. Since his arrival in Houston, D’Antoni has been able to accomplish a 173-73 record and on the NBA coach of the year award for the 2016-17 season, per RocketsWire.
The Rockets just have not been able to get over the hump in the playoffs.
Since Jackson’s 2014 firing and the Warriors’ multiple championships, Jackson has been named as a coaching candidate for coaching jobs but nothing has materialized.
Jackson’s replacement, Steve Kerr, always outspoken about everything imaginable, even our nation’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump, has always spoken highly of his predecessor.
“Every year, they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Mark came in and made a focus of being a tough defensive-minded team.”
The New York Knicks, reportedly were interested in hiring Jackson before hiring David Fizdale.
Mark Jackson’s Talent as NBA Coach
Last year, the New York Post’s Marc Berman wrote that a book, titled “Betaball” may have dulled Jackson’s ability as coach.
Berman wrote it best in the lede to his story when he stated:
“If Knicks brass has read “Beataball,” there are enough red flags about coach candidate Mark Jackson to stop a Nascar race.”
According to Berman, the book detailed the making of the Warriors dynasty, painted a bleak picture of Jackson being too resistant to analytics, mismanaging his coaching staff, making an ill-timed, anti-gay remark and harboring a distant relationship with the Warriors’ front office, among other failings.
Still doing television work with ESPN and ABC alongside Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy, Jackson is still letting folks know the rule: “Hand down, man down!”
“It’s just been real hard, but Mark doesn’t worry about that,” Otis Hughley insisted on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He’s the kind of guy who lives by a certain standard and he doesn’t let the way folks think or what they say, dictate how he feels or how he conducts his life. He still has a job, he would like to coach, but that’s not all and all with him. He’s a man of God and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and this game is really missing out [by] not having this guy back in, because he impacts a lot of lives.”
While Jackson may not have won championships with the Warriors, Hughley, who also has had stints as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings, China and has developed top-tier NBA centers like Brook Lopez, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins, says that Jackson’s calling card was establishing their winning culture. “What you get now and what you see now is what they bring out to the table when your meal is finished,” said Hughley.
“Mark was in the kitchen getting those ingredients together, making the orders, finding the places that had the right ingredients. He got them in there when they drafted Klay, Draymond, when they traded for Iguodala, he got got Bogut. He put all that together. He got all the necessary ingredients together to make a great meal and it started to germinate and grow. And now, the results of what he did and the foundation that he laid, look what’s happening, it’s unbelievable.”
Hughley believes that Mark Jackson is an overqualified head coach. “How can you not give this guy an opportunity to do that again, it’s unprecedented,” he said.
“Rick Carlisle, 50 wins in Detroit, they fire him. He’s been acknowledged, he’s won a championship, but he’s been there ever since; probably one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NBA right now, other than Pop.”