Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Mark Jackson thinks the Golden State Warriors will make the playoffs in 2011-12, because this is a perfect encapsulation of Mark Jackson the NBA analyst now articulated on record by Mark Jackson the NBA head coach. Deary, me.

The less said about Mark Jackson, the better. C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll has already penned a perfect evisceration of Jackson the soon-to-be former TV "analyst," and I'll let his work stand for itself.

I'll also copy this quote, if you're in a hurry:

Jackson's analytical stylings are like a cross between Hubie Brown and Scotty Brooks, except if you were to remove any indication whatsoever that the speaker has ever even seen the game of basketball.  No more phrases that make no sense within the context of basketball, like "Mama, there goes that man".  No more phrases that make no sense within the context of the English language, like "Hand down, man down."  Really, it is impossible to get excited enough about this.

Now that Mark has become the coach of the Golden State Warriors …

(Excuse me. I just silently stood up from my chair and walked around the living room, wordlessly, for 27 minutes. Burned 140 calories, but it still wasn't worth it.)

Now that he's become coach of the Golden State Warriors, Jackson has set to nearly promising a postseason appearance for the team, a group that has made the playoffs just one time since 1994. This is from Tuesday's introductory press conference:

"I fully expect, put it in bold letters, the Golden State Warriors to be a playoff team next year. If I did not expect that, I would not have taken the job, and I won't minimize it with just being a playoff team. We are looking to turn the Bay Area upside down."

First off, don't do anything to the Bay Area. It's just fine the way it is. Budget concerns, sure, but beyond that let's leave the entire Area untouched. Thanks.

Secondly, stop telling me what to put in bold letters. My website, my fonts, my choice.

Also, playoffs? Go on with your bad self.

Might as well expect it. Golden State is a young team with good talent and a strong upside. The team has tradeable options and a group of youngsters that appears willing to learn. They suffered through Don Nelson, they were uninspired by Keith Smart, and they still have a chance for a strong leader to be the difference between the 36 wins Golden State managed last year, and the 46 (or possibly more) it would take to grab the eighth seed in the West next season.

And that's as optimistic as I can get without laughing myself into yet another 27-minute walk. Because Jackson, who forged a 17-year NBA career out of smarts, guile and a deft touch with his hands, has infuriated NBA fans by the thousands with his insufferable work on ESPN and ABC broadcasts over the last few years. It would have been millions, but those people just don't tune in anymore.

Jackson's a big reason why. He consistently ruins the tone of the game by choosing to pass on analyzing the contest in front of him in favor of going over insipid, barroom or sports talk radio-level conversations. Rankings and unwritten rules and posturing and all that. Just fine, when you have three hours to kill in an afternoon's radio gig, but not cool when the Mavs and Heat are locked into yet another one-possession game.

He was given the ABC job after a short, and admittedly not bad, stint as New Jersey Nets analyst; so this means he had way more experience before his terrible time with Disney than he'll have as an NBA coach before taking on what is a huge (no, I won't put it in bold letters) task in turning these Warriors into playoff contenders. Golden State has talent, but it has a system to develop to make up for the myriad holes in the team's rotation, and overall complexion. This is a team full of endearing goofballs that could be putty in the right man's hands, and I will not end this paragraph with a "hand down, man down" reference BECAUSE THAT PHRASE MAKES NO SENSE.

Acquiring the well regarded Mike Malone to lead Jackson's staff will help. Actually, it says a lot about how little most regard Jackson's potential coaching capabilities that the first question at his introductory press conference had to do with Malone.

Dig:

QUESTION: Mark, could you talk about the significance of hiring Michael Malone as your lead assistant, and what you hope he'll bring to the table for you?

MARK JACKSON:  Well, first and foremost, it's a great day.

Ouch.

Understand that all these shots come from people that want Jackson to succeed. I'm not pandering when I tell you that Golden State Warrior fans, and this was obvious when I was watching Rick Adelman or Dave Cowens flail away as Warrior coaches, know the game and deserve a consistent winner. And though most of us still have misgivings with the Monta Ellis(notes)/Stephen Curry backcourt (if not those players on an individual basis), this is still a roster that we like very much. And save for his mind-numbing turns as ABC/ESPN analyst, we've always been fond of Jackson. Both as a player and in his initial turn with the Nets.

We want Jackson to succeed, and we like the brio. Just understand that if the same leanings that made up Mark Jackson the ABC/ESPN analyst start to work in Golden State, then this team is in trouble.

If he starts humble -- which is tough to do for a guy who never had to be an assistant coach and jumped quickly to the top position in his television field -- though? If he lets Malone guide him and falls in love with the grind (this was the guy, remember, that quit his gig with the Nets in order to watch less basketball and only work for ABC/ESPN; even while Marv Albert is still calling every game he can) and the growth? Then it can work.

So can a lot of things, I suppose.

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