Mark Jackson, the NBA’s second all-time assists leader, is looking for a new job. The 14-year league veteran, who now does color commentary for NBA games on ESPN and ABC and previously did the same for the Nets on the YES Network, wants to get out of the broadcasting field and pursue a basketball head coaching position. He hasn’t been specific with regard to whether he wants to coach in the NBA or college as yet, but reports say he has hired an agent to help him find a role.
Coincidentally, as far as I can tell, St. John’s University (Jackson’s alma mater) announced today they were firing six-year men’s basketball coach Norm Roberts following yesterday’s first-round exit from the NIT. Perhaps Jackson would be interested in pursuing the college ranks — and where better to do that than at the school that transformed him into an NBA player?
Jackson will, too, draw considerable interest from NBA teams, I expect. One of the greatest distributors in the history of the game, Jackson has provided quality in-game analysis from a broadcasting role for the last several seasons. Few other commentators I’ve heard have displayed a greater understanding of the game than he has.
Well, if that’s the case, where will he go? The Nets immediately come to mind. In the midst of its dreadful campaign, New Jersey needs a coach who can come in and lead, not stand there with no manifest concern for the success of the team like Kiki Vandeweghe has — Jackson has always shown a capacity for doing so. Furthermore, the Nets will be the favorites to come away with the first overall pick and, thus, John Wall in the draft, and Jackson would be a good candidate for teaching the budding superstar the ropes of the NBA game and how to balance his superb scoring ability with the point-guard skills necessary to be great in the league.
The Clippers also look like a possible destination for Jackson. Again, the leadership skills will help focus the immense talent the team features and create some way to get wins from it. Furthermore, as Jackson has no prior coaching experience at any level, Donald Sterling should be able to get him for cheap — something I’m sure he’s cognizant of.