Ratto: Lacob hires Jackson, expects Doc Rivers

June 7, 2011, 4:21 am
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Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

Mark Jackson just went from watching the NBA Finals to a team that has trouble making the NBA Octofinals. And he couldnt be happier.But give it time. Hell figure out what hes in for which is plenty.Understand this, though. More than anything else, the Warriors hired Mark Jackson not to be Mark Jackson, but Doc Rivers.

Rivers didnt have any coaching experience when he hooked up with Orlando in 1999. None. Zero games. The exact same number Jackson has now. But Rivers had players, he could communicate, he hired smart veteran assistants who could guide him through the tight squeezes and logistical tricks.STEINMETZ: Mark Jackson: Not Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now
Joe Lacob, though, became a minority partner with the Celtics in 2006, and he came across a more finished product in Rivers. In 2008, he won the NBA title. Even now, with an old team, he got to the Eastern Conference semis, and in 12 years has become one of the games top six coaches.Twelve years, though, cant be fabricated, and Jackson goes into a situation that is looking more and more like an expansion team. Expansion, that is, in all ways but the roster itself, and that may change soon enough.The ongoing debates about whether the Warriors could keep Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry or both will be ongoing, only there will be one more voice in the room. Jackson hasnt seen the Warriors in person in years, wed wager, but hell have an opinion, just like Jerry West will have one, just like Larry Riley will have one, just like Bob Myers will have one.And just like Joe Lacob will have five or six. And thats the important part.Jacksons hiring (3 years, 6 million and change) allows us to understand this hire for what it is Joe Lacobs, pure and simple. We knew all along he would be the one who ran this franchise on the basketball side, because thats all hes ever said. And the Jackson hire proves it.Larry Riley didnt make this hire. He is a lame duck by any definition. Bob Myers didnt make this hire. He isnt the general manager. And Jerry West didnt make this hire, because Mark Jackson doesnt have enough skins on his coaching wall for Wests comfort. He doesnt have any for anybodys comfort, to be honest.Except Lacobs. And Lacob is going to try and remake this franchise in his image, as defined by what he knows and believes to his soul.The Boston Celtics of the latter half of the Oughts.VIDEO: Warriors hire Mark Jackson
It surely isnt Jerry Wests idea, to be sure. And this is the sort of thing that could shorten Wests stay in Oakland. I mean, hes a guy who came in to provide guidance and counsel, and what requires more guidance and counsel for a first-time owner than his first coach?There is no way to know if Mark Jackson is a good idea or not, and anyone who says they do know is lying through his or her uvula. By all accounts, he can communicate well (hell, hes on TV, and players know whos on TV), and he was regarded as a smart player in his years with the Knickerbockers, Clippers, Pacers, Nuggets, Raptors, Jazz and Rockets.But very few coaches are lousy communicators or dopes. Lots of coaches dont have good enough players, or they have a bad atmosphere, or an owner who thinks he knows way more than an owner can know.And that, more than Mark Jacksons coaching skills, is the big issue here. Whether Joe Lacob really is the guy to run this team. I mean, he runs the franchise and all, but the team is not the same, and he will find that out soon enough.Especially now that he is running both the franchise and the team that desperately needs to reach the Octofinals.

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