Recent reports are indicating that ABC News basketball analyst Mark Jackson is a finalist for the Golden State Warriors coaching vacancy. Jackson is a decent enough commentator, even if his “mama there goes that man again” catchphrase is a bit creepy, and as Doc Rivers has recently shown, working as a journalist is a good segue to becoming a championship coach. Moreover, having lived in Los Angeles for twenty-odd years now, Jackson is familiar with the west coast/pacific conference, so in theory coaching the Warriors would provide an opportunity to stay close to home and work a territory with which he is already very familiar. For sure, there are no shortage of logical reasons why Jackson is a candidate, but given the makeup of the Warriors and the other available coaches, it does seem odd that Golden State would have him among their finalist.
Throughout his playing career Jackson was a big guard who had most of his success playing alongside two very gifted big men in Patrick Ewing and Rick Smits. The Warriors makeup seems to run against the grain of Jackson’s very being as a basketball player. They have two gifted guards, neither of whom is a playmaker in the sense of physique that Jackson was.
I bring this up because inevitably one of the things that most new coaches who’ve had professional success have to overcome is the fact that their players either don’t play like they used to or are not as gifted as them. Coaches who were point guards are particularly prone to this problem because of kind of symbiotic relationship that guards and coaches are expected to have.
Unfortunately for Jackson the two coaching jobs that play most to his strengths are the two that aren’t open. He’d be an amazing mentor/coach for Deron Williams in New Jersey, and he’d also the kind of coach who could impel Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard to develop the kind of chemistry they need to succeed.
I can’t begrudge Jackson for taking the Golden State job if it’s offered, but I can’t help put wonder what kind of impact he’d have on a team that better fits his personality.