Mark Jackson served as color analyst for the NBA Finals, which was probably sort of like having a front-row seat to your ex-wife’s new marriage. Not only do you have to watch it, but you also have to comment on it – and, when necessary, compliment it.
Jackson, of course, coached the Golden State Warriors from 2011 to 2014 but was fired last year despite leading the Warriors to one of their best seasons in franchise history. Then along comes Steve Kerr, and the Warriors win an NBA championship.
And Jackson had to watch it. All of it. Every second of every game.
How must he have felt watching that? Happy? Angry? Bittersweet?
“He didn’t really say much,” CSN Bay Area Warriors insider Monte Poole said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We’ve talked a few times, but he didn’t really sort of express his feelings about where he stood, which I think is probably appropriate and I think the fact that we can’t quite put a handle on it, it’s probably the best thing for him. You don’t want to say, ‘Wow, he’s really tilted toward the Warriors’ or ‘He’s really titled against the Warriors.’ There were times when Mark spoke highly of the Warriors, and there were times when he spoke highly of the Cavs and there were times when he criticized both, which is kind of what you want from a guy in his position. So I would say on the whole for him it had to be bittersweet. A lot of the guys on this team were his guys. To see them go all the way with somebody else had to be . . . bittersweet at the best.”
Kerr led the Warriors to an NBA-best 67-15 record – a 16-win improvement over last season with essentially the same roster.
Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.
Poole does not think the Warriors would have won a championship this year with Jackson at the helm.
“I doubt it,” he said. “I just don’t think their offense could have performed at the level they did this year. Mark would have had to make some major changes there. He would have had to bring in basically an offensive coordinator, which is what Steve Kerr did in Alvin Gentry. This is basically Alvin’s offense and Steve being the CEO kind of running things. Mark was kind of resistant to really delegating to that degree. That’s kind of what hurt this team under his watch. They were very good on defense, but their offense was stodgy and really reliant on isolation stuff and this roster isn’t really built for that. Memphis may be built for that, but the Warriors are not.”