Congratulations to Mark Jackson; the former standout point guard from Bishop Loughlin and St. John's has his first head coaching job, with the Golden State Warriors. And all St. John's fans, followers, and alumni are proud (by my estimate).
For years, Mark Jackson's name has been a key ingredient in the rumor mill surrounding head coaching jobs. His name gets tossed about on the professional level, but he was mentioned as a possibility for the St. John's basketball job that went to Steve Lavin.
Whether that was an idea being floated by the St. John's athletic department, or just by the New York media, Mark Jackson's name has some pull. He's part of ESPN/ ABC's lead commentator team with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. His catch phrases "mama, there goes that man" and "hand down, man down" are well known. And his career as a pro was stellar despite his lack of speed; his intelligence carried him.
What does that mean for his ability to coach in the pros? Jackson as a head coach on the college level scared me, but things can be different on the professional level. The staffs are bigger, the job involves more personality management, and the players are physically developed.But is Mark Jackson too green for the NBA sidelines?
The media has many of the same questions. What they're saying, after the jump.
NBA.com: WARRIORS: Warriors Name Mark Jackson Head Coach
After an extensive search and a great deal of consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Mark Jackson is the best coach for this team," said Warriors’ General Manager Larry Riley. "He will bring a youthful and fresh approach to our team and the fact that he enjoyed a stellar playing career, where he served most of that time as the leader of some very successful teams, will prove invaluable in the long run. We were looking for a coach with leadership ability and a strong personality and believe Mark possesses those qualities. He’s very well respected in NBA circles, is a consummate professional and his knowledge and background will be an incredible asset for our team and organization."
"We are tremendously excited about the addition of Mark Jackson as our new head coach," said Warriors’ Owner Joe Lacob. "He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons and we think that characteristic – and many other positive traits – will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team. He was a leader and a winner both on and off the floor in this league and we’re convinced that he is the right person to guide this team into the future and help us achieve the success that we are striving for as an organization."
NY Daily News: Warriors hire Brooklyn-born star Mark Jackson of Bishop Loughlin, St. John's & Knicks as head coach
The Warriors hired Jackson, the Brooklyn-born star at Bishop Loughlin High and St. John's who was drafted by the Knicks in 1987 and played six seasons all told with them, to replace Keith Smart Monday, giving the former point guard and current TV analyst his first chance to be a head coach.
"He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons and we think that characteristic - and many other positive traits - will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team," owner Joe Lacob said in a statement.... Jackson, 46, played 17 years in the NBA - the first five for the Knicks (he also returned to them for the 2001-2002 season), followed by the Clippers, Pacers, Nuggets, Raptors, Jazz and Rockets. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1988 and made the playoffs 14 times. He ranks third on the NBA's all-time assists list.
San Jose Mercury News: Tim Kawakami: Mark Jackson brings big personality, big risk to Golden State Warriors - San Jose Mercury News
As a coach, strategist and day-to-day manager of an often rocky locker room, broadcaster Mark Jackson is a total blank slate, an unknown, a great leap of faith. He has zero high-level coaching experience, so Jackson is a giant sideline question mark, in capital letters and triplicate. But the Warriors, it is clear, were not exactly aiming for any of those specific things when they surprisingly hired Jackson as their coach Monday. Co-owner Joe Lacob was going for something else, something less tangible and something a lot riskier: Headline-making, room-dominating personality.
San Jose Mercury News: Mark Jackson as Head Coach: Fingers Crossed, Again | Fast Break
The Warriors’ head coach hire was surprisingly in-line with the team’s stated wishes. They were looking for a young up-and-comer. They wanted greater defensive emphasis. A winning pedigree may not have been required, but it was certainly a big plus. There was a clear sense Joe Lacob was looking to make a bold move. Mark Jackson superficially fills those four criteria, but right now he feels like less than the sum of those justifications. With zero coaching experience, he may be too green a prospect. There’s no xs and os evidence to back up his talk of defense. He was a winner as a player, but so were so many other failed Warriors coaches that came (and left) before him. The category he most completely fulfills is "bold move" — in the sense that he’s a big risk.
San Jose Mercury News: Jerry West: On Mark Jackson, Lacob, Malone, the latest Ellis report, and more | Talking Points
And West said there were some similarities between Jackson coming on with zero coaching experience and Pat Riley’s elevation in LA long ago.
But the real oomph seemed to come from West’s belief that Jackson and Malone would be a great coaching team, and one the Warriors could and would stick with for quite some time. -WEST: He had a tremendous connection with Joe. And he’s a very smart guy, he played in the league for 17 years, for a number of coaches. He’s a player who played in the league a long time in his head. And I think we all have had glowing reports from people who think he’s really good.
Golden State of Mind: What Does The Coaching Record Of Other Broadcasters Say About Mark Jackson's Chances For Success With The Warriors? - Golden State Of Mind
"And I think he's gonna be like Doc Rivers in this: if you give him a bad team, he will lose. If you give him three Hall of Fame guys...he'll probably get you in the Finals."
Yet Ostler does leave us with a still vague, yet perhaps more concrete, question: what might the track record of Rivers - and other coaches who went from player to color commentator to coach - tell us about what might be in store for the Warriors?
Real GM Blog: "We're Going To Look For Someone With, Certainly, Experience"
That sentiment contains a fair bit of truth, considering the rough track record of first-time NBA coaches. Even many of those with no head coaching experience that garnered success gained it after numerous hard seasons and massive talent turnover.
What makes the Mark Jackson hire so baffling and frustrating is that it carries remarkably little short-term or long-term logic in a way that so perfectly typifies the ineptitude that has plagued the franchise for nearly two decades.
NOLA.com: New Orleans Hornets reportedly losing top assistant to Golden State Warriors | NOLA.com
Mike Malone, a defensive specialist who helped the Hornets become one of the top defensive teams in the league this past season, has joined the staff of Mark Jackson, the Warriors' new coach, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports.
SB Nation: The Interview That Got Mark Jackson The Warriors' Head Coach Job - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
What did Mark Jackson say in his interview to get hired by the Golden State Warriors? (note: an entirely fake interview)