First-time coach has bold prediction for Warriors
First-time coach Mark Jackson has a bold prediction for his
first season with the Golden State Warriors.
”I fully expect, put it in bold letters, the Golden State
Warriors to be a playoff team next year,” Jackson said Tuesday, a
day after being hired by the team that has been to the playoffs
only once since 1994. ”If I did not expect that, I would not have
taken the job, and I won’t minimize it with just being a playoff
team. We are looking to turn the Bay Area upside down.”
Jackson’s comments came before Game 4 of the NBA finals, which
is working as a lead analyst for ESPN and ABC. He will begin his
first coaching job full time after the end of the series between
the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.
In 17 seasons as an NBA point guard, Jackson played for New
York, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Denver, Toronto, Utah and
Houston. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1988 and made the
playoffs 14 times. He ranks third on the NBA’s all-time assists
While Jackson has never coached at any level, he doesn’t see
that as an issue.
”Some would say I’m naive, but I don’t think that’s a big
deal,” he said. ”I’ve been a leader my entire life. Every team I
ever played for, I was a leader, I was really an extension of the
coach on the floor. I know that’s cliche, but it really was in my
position. I was a guy that no coach ever told me what set to run
offensively. I ran the set and they trusted in my ability to make
reads and make calls. I don’t think it’s going to be an
Jackson said he is more concerned that he’s never been in the
position to organize everything for an entire team on a daily
”I’ve conquered every challenge in front of me with the help of
the good Lord, and I look forward to this one,” he said.
The 46-year-old Jackson played for five Hall of Fame coaches in
his college and pro career: Lou Carnesecca, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry
Sloan, Pat Riley and Larry Brown.
”Great minds help form who I am today,” Jackson said.
Jackson will have one of the NBA’s top assistants on the bench
with him after hiring Mike Malone as his lead assistant Tuesday.
Malone was an assistant for New Orleans last season and previously
the lead assistant in Cleveland under Mike Brown.
”First and foremost, it’s a great day. Mike Malone is a guy
that I’ve known for quite some time,” Jackson said. ”I have
tremendous respect for his passion, his knowledge, his commitment.
He’s an extremely loyal guy, so it’s a big-time hire for us.”