Action Jackson

Erik Gee

We are on day two of presenting our dream candidates for the Oklahoma City Thunder head coaching vacancy.  Sam Presti won't consider most of the people on our list, but, considering the Thunder has never won the press conference with a coaching hire, we came with a list of names that would excite the fans.  

Today we are campaigning for former Golden State coach and current ESPN color analysis Mark Jackson. Jackson's name came up on sports talk radio when Scott Brooks was let go in 2015.  Jackson spent three years in Oakland, where he went 121-109. 

The Warriors made as far as the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012-2013 season. Jackson was fired the following year when Steve Kerr took over, leading Golden State the NBA championship. 

Why Jackson Would Work: An overriding theme throughout this series is respect. The biggest key to a successful run in the association is your ability to relate to players.  

With 17 years of playing experience and competing in the Knicks/Bulls rivalry of the '90s, players will see Jackson as someone who knows what it takes to win in the postseason. He also gets credit among insiders as the catalyst that sparked the Warriors a dynasty.

The Thunder is looking to get younger, and having Jackson to guide Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and Darius Bazley could produce championship results. 

Point guard Jarrett Jack, who played for Jackson in Golden State, says:

"Anybody who doesn't give that man a whole bunch of credit for what he was able to spearhead and get started out there, I think they're just not in reality. "... "They just don't know the situation." 

 "I was in those huddles."... "I was in those locker room sessions."

 "The way he talked to us, the amount of confidence he gave us."... "Go look at the kind of defense the Warriors were playing before Coach Jackson showed up and look at them now."

 "Anybody that tries to downplay his role in [what the Warriors have become], that's not right."

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Why The Thunder Won't Hire Him: While the record says Jackson was successful at Golden State, ZachLowe paints a picture of someone who abused his power. According to a Grantland article written by Lowe during the first 20 games into his tenure, Jackson "went out of his way to point out, unsolicited and on the record, that it would be wrong to publicly credit any single assistant coach for the team's transformation."

Lowe continues:

Jackson demoted Brian Scalabrine, an assistant coach, to the D-League after initially firing him without cause in front of players. The team fired another assistant, Darren Erman, after learning he had been secretly recording conversations Jackson had with other coaches. Erman was concerned Jackson was bad-mouthing him behind his back, multiple sources have said, and poisoning his relationship with players. The team changed the location of Erman's parking spot without warning, sources say. Jackson also made it known he preferred that Jerry West, a senior adviser to the Warriors, stay away from practices.

Golden State looked into allegations that another coach was taping conversations, plus Jackson's "combative attitude" did not sit well with the front office. It could very well be that Jackson has matured from his experiences in Oakland, but it's doubtful that Presti would use the Thunder for his redemption tour. 

Presti calls the shots in Oklahoma City, and that could prove to be too much for the commentator's ego. Any decisions made on personnel would go through Presti first, and unless Jackson is willing to concede that power, he'll have no shot of getting the Thunder job. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past seven seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.

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