May 5, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
Who will coach the Golden State Warriors next season?
If choosing one name, it has to be Mark Jackson. The team’s current coach led the Warriors to 51 wins and back-to-back playoff berths for the first time since the early 1990s, and he’s under contract for another year.
But Jackson or the field? That’s a tough question.
No matter what the Warriors do, they’ll consider replacements for Jackson as they determine Jackson’s fate.
Joe Lacob’s main momentous decision on Mark Jackson’s future might not be precisely about Mark Jackson at all.
It could be about Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg—is Warriors management’s theoretical top choice willing to talk about coming to the Warriors?
Two coaching names known to interest Golden State greatly, sources say, are Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy. I find it equally tough to picture Kerr turning Phil Jackson down now, as far as Kerr’s dalliance with the Knicks has gone, so look for the Warriors to explore the SVG option hard if (when?) Jackson’s reign is brought to an end.
Because the Warriors’ players have so strongly bought into Jackson’s coaching, Stein’s opinion – one I strongly endorse – is the Warriors should fire Jackson only if the replacement is an undeniable upgrade.
That’s not Kerr, who has no coaching experience. That’s also not Hoiberg, who has no professional coaching experience.
It’s probably Van Gundy – though he might be the hardest to land. If any available coach can keep the Warriors strong defensively and boost their middling offense, it’s him. As Stein reports, though, Van Gundy has grown happy broadcasting and spending time with his family.
Jackson – with his regressing offense, hockey-style substitutions and inability to work with his assistant coaches – leaves a lot to be desired. But finding and hiring an upgrade won’t necessarily be easy, and that might save Jackson’s job.
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