New York Knicks: A case for Mark Jackson as the next head coach

A polarizing option among New York Knicks fans, why Mark Jackson should be considered a serious candidate for the head coaching position.

Debating who will be the New York Knicks‘ next head coach has been a trendy topic among Knick fans. Different names have been thrown out from Tom Thibodeau to Jeff Van Gundy to Kenny Atkinson.

But What about Mark Jackson? He has been linked to the Knicks for a few years, and while things may have changed with a new regime in place, his resume justifies a legit shot at being the next Knicks head coach.

Ian Begley recently reported that Jackson was held in high regard by people within the Knicks organization, but it is unknown whether he is an actual candidate for the job that New York has yet to interview for in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why should the Knicks consider Mark Jackson as next head coach?

I think his resume matches up with any of the other candidates being linked to the team. Jackson’s time as the Golden State Warriors bench chief, pre-championships cannot be discounted. He had an impressive 121-109 record for a rebuilding club, making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, winning 51 games in his final year on the job.

This was pre-Dynasty Warriors, a franchise that hadn’t made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons before Jackson arrived since the early nineties. In fact, they had only made the playoffs once in 17 years before Jackson. On their way to their seventh consecutive without making the playoffs, the Knicks would surely take a turnaround story like that.

Jackson helped build the foundation in Golden State, developing the core that went on to become champions. Guys like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all matured their games under Mark Jackson. The players raved about him and they pushed to keep him as the coach.

“Over the last three years, coach Jackson has challenged me as a player and person,” Curry said after Jackson was fired in 2014. “His experience and guidance has helped each of us grow in this league… Can’t thank him enough for all he did for me. I wish him all the best as he transitions to the next chapter.”

There are a few things that make the Brooklyn native very appealing for the Knicks. First, Jackson has had success in developing younger players. The Knicks roster is full of young talent with potential, and they will add another one this summer in the draft.

Also, Jackson’s time playing for the Knicks and at St. John’s University should help him deal with the pressures of the New York media and the spotlight. Jackson should not shrink under the bright lights. He also has a track record of improving team defense, finishing in the top five the the last year he coached in Golden State.

Overall, in my opinion, Mark Jackson should not just be a candidate, but one of the favorites for the Knicks job.

His time away from coaching should not be used against him. As a broadcaster, he maintained a first-hand look on how the game has changed and evolved since he stopped coaching, plus he knows he has something to prove after Steve Kerr made the Warriors a championship franchise.

Jackson changed the culture of the Warriors organization; he took them from a mediocre franchise to a winning franchise; he may not have been there for the championships, but he did help with building the foundation. The Knicks need someone like that, who can change the culture and perception of the franchise. Jackson is their man.