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Mark Jackson is no NBA head coach

June 11, 2010
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There are some things that I, as a Jazz fan, have gotten over over the years:

Malone’s missed FTs.
Jordan pushing off.
The Fisher saga.
The sight of Malone in that ugly orangey-yellow that clashed with his skin tone.

And then there are things that I have never been able to get over, namely Freaking Mark Jackson. Stockton’s decision to retire was one of the biggest blows of my life up to that point in my life, and the decision had “Mark Jackson” written all over it.

(I know it was naive of me and to say this is trite, but I really thought he would play forever, and the reason it hit me so hard is because it was so completely unexpectedly out of left field.)

For those that need a recap:

The NBA’s alltime assist leader may be getting a push out the door by his new backup this season and the No. 2 man on the career assist list, 38-year-old Mark Jackson. Three members of the Jazz organization now understand why Jackson has been traded seven times in his 16-year career: They say that over a period of weeks, he succeeded in turning several teammates against Stockton by repeatedly remarking that those players would be better off if Jackson were the Jazz’s floor leader…”There was no question it hurt John, because you could see him withdraw,” says a high-ranking team official. “But he’ll never talk about it, just as he won’t talk about injuries, because then he feels like he’s making excuses for himself.”

Sloan reached a breaking point in mid-January, when he lost his temper over the divisiveness on his team and stormed out of the gym during practice. He was threatening to retire then and there, only to be dissuaded at an emergency meeting called by team owner Larry Miller, president Dennis Haslam, general manager Kevin O’Connor and Sloan’s wife, Bobbye. (SI)

Despite career averages of almost 10 ppg, 8 apg, and 1.2 spg, not to mention winning Rookie of the Year and making the All-Star team in 1989, Mark Jackson played for 7 teams (including two stints with two teams) over 17 years, and was traded 6 times. Apart from spending the first five years of his career in New York, he didn’t last more than 2.5 seasons with any of the other teams.

Mark Jackson has never held any sort of coaching job. He’s been a rumored candidate for many vacancies (most recently Atlanta, Minnesota, and New York), but none of them have panned out for him. It’s clear as day to me why.

Fanhouse recently did a piece on Jackson’s quest for a head coaching job. Jackson claims that lack of experience is the issue (for teams), but at the same time says that lack of experience isn’t a legitimate concern:

“I think it depends on who’s doing the hiring,” Jackson said. “I think you’ve got great examples of it, just like any other hire. And then you have examples where it didn’t work. Doc Rivers was hired with no experience, and he’s as good as it gets as coaching goes.”

Um…Doc Rivers was considered one of the worst coaches in the league until the Celtics traded for Garnett and Ray Ray. Under Rivers, the Celtics had posted declining records for three consecutive years, culminating in a 24-58 season in 2006-07. Prior to landing the Celtics job, Rivers had been fired by the Magic after taking them nowhere (41, 43, 44, and 42 wins) in 4+ seasons, including three consecutive first-round exits. So if you’re trying to prove to owners/management that you know your stuff, Doc Rivers perhaps wasn’t the best example to raise.

The article also quotes former COY (the year the media stole the award from Jerry) Hubie Brown:

“Well, the problem is, you’ve got to get someone to believe that you can do that, and surround yourself,” Brown continued. “Where you get into trouble, anytime you get a job, is when you get a job and surround yourself with guys who like you, and who will say everything you want. But they can’t teach. And they can’t help you. But see, you like it, because they’re not a threat.”

I can absolutely see Jackson surrounding himself with sycophants and Yes Men. After all, isn’t that exactly what he tried to do in Utah? He openly admits to trying to create a divide in the locker room so that he could take it over, and excused it as “leadership.”* He recruited players like DeShawn and Amaechi over to his dark side–players that were no threat to him, or his position on the team.

Jackson talks some more:

“I’m a guy who takes pride in being a leader,” Jackson said. “I was a guy who was an extension of the coach no matter where I played, and I take pride in getting the most out of everybody around me, including myself. And I’m a student of the game. I had the luxury of playing under five or six Hall of Fame coaches, and I was smart enough to know what to steal from them, meaning taking from each and every one of them what they did great, and what I thought they didn’t do well.”

I’m a guy who takes pride in being a leader“…and what you call “leadership,” others call “manipulation.”

I was a guy who was an extension of the coach no matter where I played, and I take pride in getting the most out of everybody around me, including myself.”…No matter where you played? Really? At least one Hall of Fame coach wanted to retire just so he wouldn’t have to deal with you and your crap any longer. And you apparently only try to get the most out of people around you when they’re no threat to you/aren’t better players than you.

And I’m a student of the game. I had the luxury of playing under five or six Hall of Fame coaches, and I was smart enough to know what to steal from them“…(Honey, your game commentary begs to differ.) You may be a student of the game, but coaching isn’t just about what happens on the court. Coaching has as much to do with managing players and team chemistry as anything else. You don’t get that. As for your five or six HOF coaches, none of them became HOFers because you played for them (the same canNOT be said about Stock). There is no bit of Jerry in you.

Honestly, if Jackson can’t even get NBA fans to listen to him when he’s on the call, how is he going to get a bunch of NBA players to listen to him? Given his past history, he’s just as likely as not to create cliques within his team and pit them against each other and give all the playing time to the ones that do as they’re told, no questions asked. I don’t think I stand alone in my assessment of him; after all, his quest for that job continues.

(I realize that this post has “Big Fat Jinx” written all over it, and it will probably and immediately land Jackson a head coaching gig, but I had to say what I had to say.)

*On what happened with Stockton:

Jackson says his actions were in no way aimed at Stockton. “I’m a born leader, and if people take that as manipulation, then maybe they haven’t been around leaders,” he says. “I make no apologies for embracing people and talking to people and making them feel like they’re important.” (SI)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. T.D permalink
    June 12, 2014 9:50 pm

    Mark Jackson again “just because he sucks!” You are killing me LMAOROF!!!!! You rock!!! Im impressed with your actual knowledge and ability to articulate the game…its quite refreshing to read an article that doesn’t just whack off some guys opinion with out any fact or common sense reasoning behind it…. Seriously just because he sucks!!!! LOL

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