In a rather surprising turn of events, Mark Jackson was fired by the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The NBA is built around winning. As a coach, you must win games in order to stay in that position. This is exactly what Mark Jackson accomplished with the Warriors. In fact, he was their most successful head coach over the last two decades. Over his three years at the helm, the Warriors produced a 121-109 record while making substantial improvements each season. After going 47-35 last season, they made even more strides on their way to a 51-31 season. In the 17 years preceding Jackson’s tenure, the Warriors had only been in the playoffs once. There is no doubt Jackson will surely tack on somewhere else in the near future, but why did the Warriors let him go after so much success? With the dynamite duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors are becoming one of the elite teams in a difficult Western Conference. What went wrong with Golden State?
One of the primary problems many will assume with association to this dismissal of Jackson is the issues he had with management and assistant coaches. Assistant Brian Scalabrine was assigned to the D-League in late March due to a “difference in philosophies.” There was also an incident in early April when Darren Erman was canned for recording material in meetings. The timing of these two events created even more buzz about the uncertainty looming with the Warriors since they occurred not too long before the playoffs. However, there playoff loss to the Clippers can’t be to blame for this. They took a very strong Los Angeles Clippers team to seven games before exiting on the road. Even with these rifts that may have occurred, Jackson has this team on the rise and turning into a real title-threat in the coming years. I still have trouble believing they were strong enough problems to make the Warriors want to move in a different direction for the future.
There are a few guys in particular that are being rumored to be up for the open position. It will definitely be a popular job, thanks to a great core group of players including all-star Stephen Curry. Some of the options would be:
I think these three will be the most talked about, with other names being tossed around. Although Hoiberg’s coaching style would fit perfectly with the three-point shooting Warriors, it will be tough to pry him away from his dream job at Iowa State. Steve Kerr is another interesting one, due to the fact he has been rumored to be a possibility for the Knicks. Phil Jackson will be looking to bring one of his own men in upon the firing of Mike Woodson. Finally, Kevin Ollie has been rumored for nearly every NBA opening. Fresh off his national title with Connecticut, NBA-vet Ollie would be a strong candidate for the Warriors opening.