What I Learned at Lunch with Mark Jackson

A few things I learned from Mark Jackson that matters to me:

*Practices will start at 10, earlier than under Keith Smart and Don Nelson before him.

*Practices won’t be long for the sake of being long. A 17-year vet, better believe the new coach knows the value of an efficient practice.

Jackson: ““I like the idea of giving them the rest of the day to do whatever they want to do when we get out of here. There’s no need to waste time and be over there just to say we got in three hard hours. No. We’re going to be precise. We’ll have a purpose to it. It depends on how the guys are. If you’re efficient and put quality work in, we can move on.”

*Practices will be closed to the media save for a short segment at the end.

Now, the stuff I learned from lunch with Mark Jackson that matters to you? …

Nothing really.

OK, maybe a little.

* I learned he is a fair-weather NFL fan. Used to be a Dolphins fans until Marino retired. Now he picks a team to root for annually. Not a fan of either the NY Giants or the NY Jets (mostly because he’s not a fan of either coach, especially Coughlin). He is a Yankees fan, though.

* I learned he and Michael Malone despises the idea that Malone is a defensive guy. From where I sit, Malone is already doing just about everything. He won’t be relegated to defense, according to Jackson. None of his coaches will be assigned to a specific duty.

JACKSON: “I’m not a guy who is going to put any one of these coaches in a box. The reason why I hired them is because I believe each one of them can and will be a head coach in this league. It would be unfair to any of them to say, ‘well he’s a defensive guy.’ I get a chuckle out of reading Michael Malone is my defensive guy. He’s not my defensive guy. I’m going to be the head coach. I’m going to be the defensive and offensive guy. I’m going to be the rules guy. I’m going to be the leader. But every one of those coaches will have roles within this coaching staff on both sides of the basketball. It would be unfair to any of them to say he’s a big man coach or defensive coach or offensive coach. I’m going to encourage all of them to be a complete coach.”

Question: So, theoretically, if you break the teams up into bigs and smalls, you could have one coach working with the bigs one day and then that same coach would be working with the smalls the next day?

Mark Jackson: That could happen. That could happen. … All of these coaches will be coaching both sides and every position.

* I learned Jackson is not a fan of fake hustle. I first heard that term from Al Harrington years ago.During an open practice at the Warriors’ arena … what was that, 2008? 2009? … Harrington got dunked on by Anthony Randolph (I think). Really, Randolph got free for a breakaway and Harrington hustled back to block it. Instead of blocking it, he ran underneath Randolph without contesting the dunk. Afterwards, when we asked about it, he called it “fake hustle.”

Fake hustle is when you go all out just for the show of it. Like when players dive for a ball that’s already out of bounds. Jackson said coaches can fake hustle, too. Coming in at 6 a.m. and staying all day. Doing too much on the sidelines. Watching hours and hours of film.

Jackson said he won’t, nor will he require his staff, to neglect everything for their job as coaches. He said he will be calm on the sidelines and do the majority of his coaching in practice, behind closed doors, kind of like Phil Jackson. As for film?

JACKSON SAID: “I’ve played for coaches that used it above and beyond, even out of control. I’m a guy that will use it to show examples. I’m not a guy you’re going to see with bags under my eyes because I’ve watched film all night long.”

* I learned Jackson hasn’t cursed in some 20 years (which kind of amazed Matt Steinmetz) and said you won’t catch him cursing out players or referees.

* I learned Mark Jackson will celebrate real hustle. He put together a clip of about 10 “winning plays” – as he called them – from last season. He said finding that many was hard to do. But in those clips of winning plays (charges drawn, hustling back on defense, proper rotation, etc) he said the reaction from the bench was downright apathetic. That won’t happen under Jackson, he said. They are going to celebrate “winning plays.”

JACKSON: “I really don’t care how the other coaches in the league feel about me, whether I’m too excited or too laid back. I don’t work for them, so I couldn’t care less. But, we, collectively, will celebrate those types of plays as a team and as a staff. We will be up and recognizing winning plays.”


Marcus Thompson

  • deano

    No position coaches? No specialists? Every coach is a generalist? I don’t buy it. A few weeks into the season, MJ should know the strengths of his coaches and take advantage of them.

  • Incredible

    Man I’m worried that, so far, this guy seems like a horrible coach. It seems like he’s already building excuses for himself, and is flat-out telling us that coaching won’t be a big part of his life- short practices, docile demeanor, short tape-viewing hours. Basically, he is telling us “don’t expect me to try very hard.”

    I hope I’m wrong, but that’s the impression he is giving throughout.

    I did like the bit about “winning plays” though. That’s cool.

  • John

    The way the negotiations are going on Mark and his coaches should spend more time researching Christmas presents for their families.