It can happen. It really can. You can jump from the broadcast booth into the head coach’s chair and make it work. Pat Riley did it when Jerry Buss tapped him in Los Angeles. Doc Rivers did it, although he looked pretty bad as a coach for a while, until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived.
So maybe the lesson those two teach us is that if you have a really good roster the coach can make the leap from broadcaster.
Mark Jackson wants to make that leap, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reminded us.
Jackson almost had both the Knicks job and the Timberwolves job. He would have struggled there, just like Mike D’Antoni and Kurt Rambis have. You can’t win with those rosters, regardless of who you are.
If Jackson wants to land someplace with a roster filled with potential, believe it or not the Clippers may be the place to be.
He has a strong connection to the Clippers organization, having played there for two seasons. He and his family have lived in the Los Angeles suburbs for years. It’s a natural fit.
“Mark, as everyone knows, has a strong desire to be a head coach,” says Steven Kauffmann, Jackson’s agent. “If the Clippers are interested that would absolutely be an ideal situation. They have a good roster and will be a very competitive team for years to come. It’s a great place for Mark to being his coaching career.”
Currently Dwane Casey, a Mavericks assistant, is considered the front-runner for that job, but he has other responsibilities for a while. Which is fine, Clippers owner Donald Sterling may wait and wait until the free agent market starts to shake out, in hopes of getting a big name to come and bring the coach with him.
Jeff Van Gundy thinks Jackson could be a coach. Maybe, maybe not, but hiring a guy straight out of the booth is a risk. And these are pretty risk-adverse times for play-it-save general managers.
But Jackson keeps looking, and keeps covering games, keeping his name on people’s minds.