Mark Jackson led the Golden State Warriors to the postseason in each of his final two seasons with the franchise.
However, after a first round exit during the 2013-14 season, the Warriors fired Jackson and ended up replacing him with Steve Kerr. Former Warriors staffer Otis Hughley believes that owner Joe Lacob played a role in the fact that Jackson hasn’t had an NBA head coaching job since his dismissal.
From the Scoop B Radio Podcast:
“I think a small circle of ownership, and (Joe) Lacob made up his mind that Mark was a certain way and it formed a narrative of how the other owners would feel about him.” Hughley said.
Hughley’s take is certainly an interesting one, but one that could have some validity. After all, it’s been four seasons since Jackson last held an NBA coaching job and hasn’t really been in the final consideration for a head coaching gig during that time. Jackson currently works as an NBA commentator on ESPN.
During the final days of the regular season in 2018, it was all but a foregone conclusion that Jeff Hornacek was set to be fired by the New York Knicks. At the time, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that Hornacek’s dismissal “would open the door” for Mark Jackson, Doc Rivers, David Fizdale, David Blatt, Jerry Stackhouse or Jeff Van Gundy to be hired by the team. Jackson was never really in the conversation to be hired by the Knicks and the team ended up hiring David Fizdale in May.
While it’s hard to argue with the success that Kerr has had with the Warriors, Hughley believes that Jackson set the groundwork for some of Golden State’s star talent. During Jackson’s time with the organization, he did select the likes of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who have been a huge part of the organization’s three NBA titles.
“Mark was in the kitchen,” Hughley added. “Getting those ingredients together, making the orders, finding the places that had the right ingredients. He got them in there when they drafted Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green), when they signed (Andre) Iguodala. He got all the necessary ingredients together to make a great meal and it started to grow under him. And now, the results of what he did and the foundation that he laid, look what’s happening. It’s unbelievable.”
The 2013-14 version of the Warriors certainly was loaded with talent. In addition to the team possessing Green and Thompson, Stephen Curry was also on the roster and was already in his fifth NBA season. These weapons had a chance to grow together under Jackson and that growth continued during the Kerr regime when the franchise established themselves as an NBA dynasty.
Hughley’s claims are certainly interesting, but there’s obviously no way to know if Lacob actually had an influence on Jackson not receiving any NBA head coaching opportunities since being fired. When it comes to Jackson, it’s definitely a situation worth watching in the years to come.