Mark Jackson: Knicks Sideline Savior or Anti-Hero
Hi all, long time no talk. I hope everyone reading this is safe and healthy with very limited impact due to CoronaVirus.
With lots of reports suggesting that Tom Thibodeau is in the conversation as the new Head Coach of the New York Knicks, many people are still hung up on Mark Jackson as the Play-Caller (chances are you or someone you know is one of these people) so I figured since we have nothing but time, I'd explain why Mark Jackson is NOT the answer based on some of my most favorite arguments of people who yell the loudest in the circles in which I roam.
Some criteria I find most alarming as to why he should be the coach is straight up nonsense. Just because someone is born in a specific area does not make them qualified to coach a local team. I'm born and raised in New York, can I coach the team? Unlikely.
Second- Joe Lacob was very transparent about two things that led to MarkJack's firing.
Lacob gave him a BLANK CHECK to hire the best coaching staff he could (Lindsay Hunter, Brian Scalabrine, Pete Myers, Jerry DeGregorio and Darren Erman) and when Jackson rebuffed and said that he did have the best staff, he demoted one of them (Brian Scalabrine) to the G-League!
This should be a major red flag to anyone trying to find reasons to hire Mark Jackson as a Head Coach. He clearly cannot identify talent or create personal allies within his own staff. How do we expect to bring Jackson on board and still be seen as a legitimate franchise when he will most likely burn every bridge at MSG behind him?
Which provides me with a nice transition into my next point. Mark Jackson was not well liked in the Golden State Warrior organization. YES, Steph Curry has spoken highly of him, however, Curry would be Curry without ever having known Jackson because he is a professional athlete who looks to perfect his craft at every moment he can. Shooter's shoot, he would still be in the gym putting up shots regardless of who was on the sideline.
That being said, the 200 employees that are within the GSW organization were not fans of Jackson and when 199 of those 200 employees don't like you, it is probably not because of a singular reason. For God's sake Darren Erman was fired for secretly video taping coaches meetings because of the toxic culture that was being bred under Jackson's leadership.
*Disclaimer Now, this part might upset some people in a much different way and I want to make it known that I am taking a respectful position from a point of view of total inclusion, diversity and unity.
Regardless of what your individual beliefs might be, New York City is one of (if not the MOST) racially, culturally and religiously diverse places in the entire world and for a man who was called out for his strict beliefs and world views and not being respectful or understanding of how others choose to live their personal, sexual or religious lives is surely going to be another toxic trait to cripple an organization that is already trying to swim back upstream to relevance and respect within the league.
His on-court results were positive, yes. The man absolutely knows the game of basketball but the question needs to be answered. If you are trying to build a culture, is basketball IQ enough to overshadow all the negative press that Mark Jackson received that was never rebuffed, refuted or found to be untrue?
I say no.
The Knicks need a strong leader (like Jackson) but someone who understands today's NBA Player. I love 90's/ 2000's era basketball as much as anyone reading this but the times have changed and the league is much different now than it ever was and I struggle to understand how the old antiquated "my way or the highway" leadership will resonate with the new generation within the locker room.