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Mark Jackson, Mike Brown and Steve Clifford among finalists for Kings’ head coaching job

The Kings have narrowed down their choices for the team’s next head coach.

2019 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Training Camp Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

After doing their due diligence on head coaching candidates in the last few weeks, the Sacramento Kings have narrowed down their list of finalists for the job. Mark Jackson is a finalist for the role, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Steve Clifford and Mike Brown are also considered finalists, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Based on these three names, the Kings appear to be prioritizing previous head coaching experience in their search.

All three have reached the playoffs and had some level of success in their previous time as head coaches.

Of the three, Clifford was a head coach most recently, coaching three seasons for the Orlando Magic, the last of which was in the 2020-21 season. In his time in Orlando and previously with the Charlotte Hornets, Clifford earned the reputation of being a defense-first coach. In both of his stops, he led some pretty average rosters to playoff appearances.

The former Golden State Warriors head coach, Jackson, is easily the most controversial name on the list in both NBA and fan circles. Jackson led the Warriors to the playoffs in his final two seasons and is often credited by the Warriors’ stars for fostering their development.

Off the court, though, Jackson has been mired in different off-court dramas, which are likely related to him not getting another head coaching opportunity since then.

Brown is the only one of the three currently on an NBA bench, as he is now an assistant to Steve Kerr for the Warriors and has been for the last six seasons. Brown’s last head coaching stint came during the 2013-14 season when he coached the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 33-49 record. His best work as a head coach came during the five years he coached LeBron James during his first stint in Cleveland.

It appears that the Kings are no longer considering any other candidates and will make their pick between these three, according to James Ham of The Kings Beat. Names initially linked to the job, like assistants Darvin Ham, Charles Lee and Will Hardy, have never been head coaches before, and are all reportedly out of the running.

First-time head coaches, like Willie Green and Ime Udoka had a great deal of success in their first seasons in 2021-22, but the Kings seem to want a coaching retread.

This hiring strategy feels pretty unimaginative, but only time will tell if this is the right direction.