The Golden State Warriors hired TV analyst, Mark Jackson, on June 6th, and now in November, he still remains an unproven coach. The lockout diminished some teams’ ability to truly find their new identities behind new coaches. The Warriors are one team in particular that needed a short lockout and a longer offseason, in order to adapt to a new coach and a new style. Because of this, no one really knows what type of coach Mark Jackson will be, what plays he will create, and how he will make this team win. Mark Jackson has a huge personality with great charisma, but he also is very smart, analytical, and confident. How will his persona transfer to his NBA coaching duties though? Will he be able to command respect and authority while still maintaining his comedic presence? All we can know for sure about Mark Jackson, is that he will be a confident, but calm leader.
Based on an interview that Mark Jackson did with Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area reporter, Matt Steinmetz, he claims that he is going to go about his job by respecting his players, while still holding them accountable for their actions on and off the court (read part 1 of the interview here and read part 2 of the interview here). Jackson claims he will try to maintain the “running” style of play that the Warriors have employed for the past 3 or 4 seasons, but he still has his own playbook that he will enforce. He has kept a few of the plays from last season, but the rest has his “DNA all over it.” Mark Jackson has worked with or played for some very influential coaches, such as Jeff Van Gundy, Larry Brown, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Lenny Wilkens, and Lou Carnesecca, just to name a few. Because of these impressive coaching influences, Jackson is bound to emphasize defense, instill a fierce sense of competition, and ultimately, having a winning mindset. Just because Jackson was coached by the best, doesn’t necessarily mean he will be as effective as a coach as his mentors. If Jackson wants to be as successful as his previous coaches, he will have to implement an iron-clad defensive system.
Mark Jackson was a successful point guard in the NBA for 17 seasons while playing on many winning teams. Jackson played on playoff teams for 14 of his 17 seasons. He knows how to win, and he knows that it all starts with defense. Right now, the Warriors don’t have the personnel to become an elite defensive team such as the Celtics or the Spurs, but Jackson can either instill a strong team defense, or he can attempt to acquire more defensive-minded players during free agency. Jackson will most likely do a combination of these two plans. Jackson has been around the NBA so long that he knows the players in this league extremely well. He will know which players to target and which players will be dedicated to improving this team’s defense as a whole. As a commentator, he was able to see every team play and then he could analyze their systems. Based on this analysis, he will be able to pick and choose what defensive schemes work best from each team and then apply it to this current Warriors team.
In addition to his individual expertise, Mark Jackson has two of the best assistant coaches in the league on his side. Michael Malone (who was a candidate for the Warriors head coaching job) is the head assistant coach and he was previously the assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the LeBron reign and for the New Orleans Hornets last season. Malone could be a head coach for any NBA team just based on his experience and success. He was the mastermind behind the Cavs’ defensive scheme, which was so successful. In addition to being a defensive guru, he has helped coach one of the league’s best point guards, Chris Paul, and this will for sure help in mentoring Stephen Curry this upcoming season. Another asset to the Warriors coaching staff is Pete Myers who has been an assistant coach for the Bulls since 2001. He has also interviewed for head coaching positions and is known around the league as an impressive coach. With these two reliable coaches on his side, Mark Jackson should have all the knowledge and determination to lead the Warriors towards becoming a playoff team again.
Mark Jackson has a plan. He won’t let many people know the specifics and his players don’t even know what it is yet, but Mark Jackson knows how to win in this league. He has no coaching experience, which can be a little concerning to some Warriors fans. However, Mark Jackson knows how to be a leader. Being a point guard for 17 seasons in the NBA is an impressive and rare feat, and not many players have the strength or talent to accomplish something like that. He possesses all the qualities that a leader and, more specifically, an NBA coach must have in order to be successful. He’s intelligent, perceptive, respected by his peers, determined, and a hard worker. In addition to his personality and his skillset, Jackson has the immense support of his coaching staff, the Warriors ownership, and his previous co-workers, teammates, and coaches. Mark Jackson has all the necessary components to succeed as the Warriors head coach. With the right players around him and the support of the fans, he could significantly improve this team and create the winning culture that every Warriors fan so severely desires. He has a lot to prove, but it is quite certain that Mark Jackson will remain a confident, calm leader throughout.