The Sacramento Kings have narrowed down their coaching search to three household names: Mike Brown, Mark Jackson and Steve Clifford. However, of those three names, it seems that Jackson has the most momentum coming out of the first interview.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Jackson “impressed” Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadivé in his initial interview for the team’s head coaching vacancy:
ESPN’s Jackson is said to have impressed Kings owner Vivek Ranadive in the interview process to date and would appear to have his best shot at a return to an NBA bench since Golden State fired him after the 2013-14 season.
As Stein notes, Jackson hasn’t been a head coach in the NBA since his three-year stint with the Golden State Warriors. His last job as a head coach was also his only job as a coach.
Jackson enjoyed a decent amount of success during his time with the Warriors, going 51-31 in his last season with the team, but we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that the team has flourished in his absence. In fact, the year after the Warriors relieved Jackson of his duties, they won a championship, and they’ve won two since then.
Obviously more went into the Warriors’ ascent than Jackson’s removal, but he didn’t exactly maximize the talent he had either and the fact that he hasn’t been on an NBA bench since his Warriors job suggests most teams don’t see him as a fit for a developing team or a team on the brink of contention.
On top of the questions surrounding Jackson’s ability as a head coach, he’s made his fair share of enemies off of the court, including his former Warriors colleagues, according to the team’s owner, Joe Lacob.
“Part of it was that he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization,” Lacob told Inside Bay Area Sports in 2014. “And look, he did a great job, and I’ll always compliment him in many respects, but you can’t have 200 people in the organization not like you.”
A lot of time has passed since then, but given the fact that the Kings have already been accused of being a “toxic” workplace, hiring Jackson probably isn’t a risk they’re in a position to take.