The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t only interview Terry Stotts as their head coaching search continues this week. According to multiple reports, they also respected the caterpillar and interviewed former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
Jackson is also a candidate for the Sacramento Kings, who are reportedly choosing between him and current Warriors assistant Mike Brown by the end of the weekend.
The Los Angeles Lakers have interviewed former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson for their head coaching job, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Jackson is among the finalists for the Sacramento Kings head coach opening.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 7, 2022
Source confirms the Lakers have interviewed current NBA analyst and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson https://t.co/BVq2mlW55u— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 7, 2022
Mark Jackson was the second-most popular option among Lakers fans in one of our recent SB Nation Reacts polls, getting 23% of the vote, which only trailed Nick Nurse. I still don’t really expect him to be hired for the same reasons I wrote about last month, but LeBron James reportedly likes him, and he got an interview, so we can’t completely rule him out at this point.
When I asked my colleague Brady Klopfer of our sister site Golden State of Mind for a scouting report on Jackson’s resume a few weeks ago, he went over both his strengths and weaknesses, but the latter section was definitely more expansive:
As a player, Jackson was a pound the ball into the floor for 20 seconds, then pass for an assist type of player – fine, considering the offensive environment of his playing days. But he’s kept the same mentality as a coach, eschewing ball movement for traditional point guard play. He was reluctant to play Curry — perhaps the best off-ball scorer in NBA history — off-ball, asking him to hold the rock and dish out passes instead. During Jackson’s three-year tenure, Curry attempted 10.3 threes per 100 possessions … a number that has gone up to 15.3 in the years since Jackson was fired.
But Jackson’s most damning trait as a coach is probably his reluctance to be anything other than the biggest dog in the yard. When Jackson was fired, Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob criticized — among many other things — his former coach’s unwillingness to use his checkbook to hire the best assistants. This wasn’t necessarily due to Jackson being committed to the assistants he had, either. He had a broken relationship with Michael Malone, whom Jackson was rumored to believe was after his job. He fired Brian Scalabrine without cause in front of other players and coaches before being forced to reassign him to the D-League. And, in a truly indefensible move, Jackson asked the Warriors to ban advisor Jerry West from attending practices.
Now, maybe Jackson has learned from those foibles. Coaches can improve as tacticians (see Kidd, Jason), and the Lakers, having interviewed him, would know better than any of us if that seems to be the case here. Or maybe he and the team’s brain trust just bonded over their shared love of kicking out Jerry West. Or both!
Still, with all due respect to the current ESPN analyst, my stance is usually not to hire the coach whose firing immediately preceded a historic basketball dynasty. But who knows at this point. Anything is possible, I suppose.
This breaking news story may be updated with more information and analysis as it continues to develop. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.