Add Mark Jackson to the long list of potential Lakers coaches. Mark Jackson was unceremoniously fired by the Golden State Warriors front office on Tuesday after taking the Clippers to seven games and leading the Warriors to a 51-31 record in 2013-2014. Jackson amassed a 121-109 record in his 3 seasons as the Warriors’ coach.
Jackson constantly clashed with his coaching staff and front office, leading to his firing. He demoted Brian Scalabrine to the D-League coaching staff, seemingly after an argument with another coach. Second assistant coach, Darren Erman, was fired halfway through the season after he was found to be recording confidential team and player meetings.
Despite questionable control over his staff, Jackson was well liked and respected by his young team. Steph Curry recently voiced his opinion on his now ex-coach:
[pullquote]”I love Coach more than anybody, and I think for him to be in a situation where his job is under scrutiny and under question is totally unfair, and it would definitely be a shock to me if anything like that were to happen. I’m going to voice my support for Coach.”[/pullquote]
The Lakers have to please Kobe Bryant with this hire whether they want to admit it or not, so Curry’s admiration for Jackson is a good sign. Kobe would be sure to like how Jackson’s hard-nosed playing style followed him into his coaching career. Jackson also has an affinity for allowing his primary ball handlers to utilize isolations (read: Kobe ball) throughout games.
Kobe may like the freedom Jackson’s style would give him, but there are problems with it that could hinder the growth of this team in the future and should concern the Lakers front office. Jackson often prefers isolations over a free flowing offense or making the extra pass to get a much better shot. He also consistently switches between starters and bench players all at once without mixing the lineups together, hindering growth and causing consistency issues. Mark Jackson is a much better defensive coach than Mike D’Antoni (if that means anything).
Aside from the above tweet from ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin, there is no news yet if the Lakers would have any real interest in Jackson, although one thing seems certain: Mark Jackson will not be the last coach to become available. The Lakers will benefit from their patience and their list will continue to grow.