1. Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson has to be on top of every front office watch list when it comes to hiring a new head coach.
Many insiders believe Jackson will be the top coaching candidate for many teams, including the new Showtime Lakers with LeBron James. Rumors around the league are that Luke Walton is on the hot seat and Mark Jackson is the favorite to replace him, so maybe it’s a good idea to snag him soon. (Sam Amico reports on the Jackson situation with the Lakers here.)
The last time Jackson coached was for the Golden State Warriors, who won 51 games but lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2014. Jackson was a surprise firing after leading the terrible Warriors team at the time to back to back playoff appearances. While coaching for the Warriors, the team went from the league’s worst defensively to the top five in all three seasons. The offense was a Jackson downfall by playing a lot of isolation ball but with a player like Stephen Curry, but you really can’t blame him for that.
A player’s coach while in Golden State, many former players such as Draymond Green credit Jackson for believing in them and giving them a chance. Many people don’t know or forget when Jackson got to Golden State, Curry was questioned for toughness, Klay Thompson was on the trade block and no one knew who Green was.
This is the type of coach that would do great things for players like Andrew Wiggins with his ability to connect and instill confidence in young players.
Many experts believe Jackson never got a fair chance and was fired way too early for a coach who was improving every season. Going from one of the worst franchise’s in the league to win over 50 games is not an easy task. Teams will be in contact with Jackson, with most of them being western conference rivals.
Would Mark Jackson be an upgrade over Thibs or would Jackson just become another defensive-minded coach who stalls out the offense?
Let’s take a look at another top head coach candidate.