Q&A with Warriors new head coach Mark Jackson


Q&A with Warriors new head coach Mark Jackson

June 7, 2011


CSNBayArea.com staff
Mark Jackson isnt expected to be introduced to the Bay Area as the new Warriors coach until Friday.But he was in Dallas on Tuesday to work Game 4 of the NBA Finals for ABC, and he was interviewed there by a group of reporters.RELATED: Players fond of Warriors' new coach Jackson
Courtesy of the NBA, here is the transcript: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. Getting to Michael Malone, he's a guy I've known for quite some time. They gave me the opportunity to establish my own staff. He's the guy I've targeted throughout the course of not just this process but when I've interviewed before, we had an understanding that I would come after him.
So it is truly a great day in Warriorland to get a guy like Mike Malone. Because I have tremendous respect for his passion, his knowledge, his commitment and he's an extremely loyal guy. So it's a big time hire for us.

QUESTION: Just talk about the transition going from the booth to coaching. I don't know if you've talked to Doc Rivers at all, has there been anybody you've spoken to, maybe not just today, but you have been speaking to to pick their brain?
MARK JACKSON: There's been a lot of coaches that I know personally, as far as friendships and relationships, and then just in the process of interviewing coaches throughout the course of my years as far as an announcer. Everybody knew what I wanted to do. They've been extremely nice to me. Whether you talk about these two coaches here, texting me in the middle of a championship series basically saying congratulations and how much they appreciate and was pulling for me. It means so much to me.
So I got a lot of coaches, as far as ones that have helped me, even the ones that have coached me in the past. Walking through the hallway during The Finals in the previous game, Pat Riley, who is a legendary Hall of Fame coach and a brilliant basketball mind, told me it's my time. And it's only because he experienced me as a player and I experienced him as a coach. Just great minds have really helped form who I am today as a basketball man.

QUESTION: Also, talk about your meeting with Lacob, what you learned from him and now learned about what I guess is a reformed Warrior franchise?
MARK JACKSON: Being a New York City guy, you get the idea as soon as you meet somebody whether it's on or it's off. Right away, as soon as we met, just an incredible, incredible guy, passionate, committed, loyal, focused, determined, and willing to spend. Willing to do whatever it takes to win. Right away we were really feeling the things that each of us were saying. We enjoyed one another's company and we left with a smile and almost a look as if to say, I'm going to see you again.
But it was really whether I got the job or not, I was totally committed and knew right away that this team was going to be successful. And then today talking to Mr. Guber, as far as understanding his excitement level with the hire and how he signed on and how excited he was about it. It's a great day for me. I'm truly thrilled, honored and blessed, and I look forward to the next challenge in my life.

QUESTION: Mark, the Warriors have played an up and down style, fast paced system for years. The question has always been if they can compete defensively that way. Do you see a move away from that under you?
MARK JACKSON: Absolutely not. We will push the basketball. We will look to make plays in transition. We will not just push it just to be pushing it. We'll have a mindset to take care of the basketball, to get quality looks. But those looks are going to be earned on the defensive end. You're not going to have a license to shoot when you're not getting it done on the other end. They will be held accountable and there will be a price to pay. I've come to the mindset that the only way to win in this league and win big is defensively.
So we will be committed on the defensive side of the ball.

QUESTION: Mark, Jerry West said in a recent interview that he thought the Warriors weren't far away. He pointed to the fact that they played a lot of close games last year but didn't win. What are your thoughts?

MARK JACKSON: I agree. When you look at that talent level, this is certainly a team that's more than capable of making the playoffs and making a run. No problem on the offensive end. Can score the basketball. Certainly got to get better with the ability to score on the low block where teams get quality points and easy points. But that's going to come.
But the main thing is the culture has to change. Continue to play solid basketball. You have to be a successful team at home, take care of your business and then compete on the road. Inexcusable not to compete on the road. There are things that will no longer be tolerated.
I'm excited about changing the culture in the Bay land.
QUESTION: Have you spoken to Monta or Steph? And what do you think about that, I guess the pros and cons of a back court like that?
MARK JACKSON: I don't see any cons, other than size. And I don't think that really makes a difference. I will play Lawyer right now and point to Exhibit A with J.J. Barea starting in the NBA Finals. I would certainly say that the Warriors' back court is bigger then the starting back court of the Dallas Mavericks tonight.
I think that's an excuse. The bottom line, do you have the heart, the will and the desire and the determination to go out and get it done by any means necessary? And I truly believe that you got to make the commitment and find a way to get it done. And that's part of changing the culture.
We will find out who is willing to win, who really wants to win, or who is just going through the motions saying it.
QUESTION: Mark, with the draft just a few weeks away and such a short time since you were hired, has there been any discussion what your involvement will be with the draft? Is it going to be more of a crash course for you? Or talk about the plan there.
MARK JACKSON: I will be very involved. One thing during the interview process and our sitdowns across the board, I will have a say so. Because at the end of the day, this will be Mark Jackson can't coach or Mark Jackson can coach. I want to be involved. I respect the fact that these guys have done their due diligence. I respect the fact that these guys have paid years of watching college players, high school players, and I'm going to respect their opinion.
But at the same time, I'm a fan of the game. And I'm fully aware of these guys' pros and cons, their strengths and their weaknesses. And I love the idea of all of the guys that's involved in this organization getting into a bunker and coming out united with the pick, a free agent, a draft choice, a style and going after it.
QUESTION: Mark, you just touched on changing the culture. How do you change the culture of a franchise that's been besieged with bad luck, with injuries, a kind of "here we go again." Going from that 35 win to a 50 win team. That next step, how do you do that?
MARK JACKSON: That's a tough step, but I don't believe in luck. I believe in you prepare yourself for the moment. Through habits formed every single day, all of a sudden you stumble into a playoff round. You stumble into second round and third round. You stumble into a championship. No such thing as luck. Talent and work ethic will put you in the position to win.
So ultimately the culture changes with great leadership. I've been a leader my entire life and I'm not a guy that's going to accept anything other than a total commitment from everybody that puts on a Warrior jersey and everybody that's committed in this organization.
QUESTION: Mark, the issue that it seems the Warriors have had for a long time also is that the lack of size in the paint. How much does that kind of play into when you look ahead to the future, the need for size? I know you said you're not going to change the way you play. But how important is it then if you don't have size to be a better defensive team?
MARK JACKSON: I'd love to have size. I would be sitting here lying to you if I said that size does not matter. It certainly matters. But once again, I'll play Lawyer, Exhibit A, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, everybody else is minimum size. So no more excuses. Find a way to go out there and get it done by any means necessary. We will not tolerate excuses. We have a great rebounder in David Lee, one of the best in the business. We have guards with tremendous athletic ability on the offensive end, which tells me you can go get some rebounds. Collectively we will find a way to get it done.
QUESTION: What do you think the biggest challenge is for you in terms of this being your first coaching job beyond the X's and O's of getting acclimated to running an NBA franchise and one that's been a loser for quite some time?
MARK JACKSON: This is new to me. I would be the first to tell you I don't know everything. I'm smart enough to know that I don't know everything. I'm smart enough to be secure enough to put people around me that can put me in position to be effective and to get the job done. I'm an outstanding listener. My assistant coaches will have a great voice. I'm not a guy that's going to put a muzzle on them. I expect them to lead. I expect them to coach, and I expect them to be an extension of me. It's going to be a good time. And there's not going to be any excuses from the coach on down.

QUESTION: Mark, what's the process now of hiring assistant coaches?
MARK JACKSON: For those of you who do not know, I believe we can make the announcement, the first hire was made: Mike Malone is the lead assistant. So we took care of that business. Like I said already, extremely thrilled to have him on board. I will continue to go through the process of talking to the proper people. I don't want to identify anybody, because with all due respect, some guys are working with different teams. People that I have a relationship with. People that I know, people that I respect and admire. I want to bring them on board.
We're going to look to put together a great, great staff of basketball minds.
QUESTION: I assume no matter how long this goes, you're going to finish the Finals doing the broadcast. Along with that, what's the biggest challenge of not having coached before, getting on the sidelines without having done that?
MARK JACKSON: I think some would say I'm naive, but I don't think that's a big deal. I've been a leader my entire life. Every team I ever played for, I was a leader. I was really an extension of the coach on the floor. And I know that's a clich, but it really was in in my position. I was a guy that no coach ever told me what set to run offensively. I ran the set, and they trusted in my ability to make reads and make calls.
I don't think it's going to be an issue. It's going to be an issue because I've never been put in the position to have to organize things every single day, day in and day out. But ultimately as a challenge, and I've conquered every challenge in front of me with the help of the Good Lord, and I look forward to this one.
QUESTION: Will you have a defensive coordinator? That seems to be a new trend in the NBA, an assistant who is the quote, unquote defensive coordinator. MARK JACKSON: I will be the voice. I think that's important to have a leader. But we'll have people that specialize. I would be a fool to sit and tell you that Mike Brown forgive me, Mike Brown, to sit here and tell you Mike Malone won't have anything to do with the defense. In my mind he's done an outstanding job and his record speaks for itself. I will give him an opportunity to teach defense and to speak on behalf of the staff defensive mentalities, defensive principles. I'm putting myself in the position to be successful by allowing those who have certain expertise to flourish. Because Mike Malone and anybody else that I hire will have "head coach" written all over them. They will be head coach material, whether they've been a head coach or not. I am hiring the best in the business, in my opinion. QUESTION: Okay, Mark, based on kind of what you're saying about what you expect from your team, do you expect the Warriors to be a playoff team next year? And if they're not, would you consider that not a successful season for you? MARK JACKSON: Absolutely. 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.
MARK JACKSON: I just want to thank Mike Breen. I get emotional. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Doris Burke. Thank you.

Key Giants lefty reliever Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

Key Giants lefty reliever Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For years, the Giants would give Sergio Romo time off during spring training to make sure his tender elbow would be ready for opening day. Romo is now a Dodger, but one of the men tasked with replacing those eighth-inning outs has been shut down. 

Will Smith won't throw for about a week because of inflammation in his left elbow. Manager Bruce Bochy said an MRI came back clean, but Smith won't pitch in a game for two to three weeks. The Giants are confident, however, that Smith will be ready for opening day. Because of the long spring, the staff has mapped out a schedule where Smith can return and make six spring appearances before the regular season. 

Any setbacks would strike a big blow to the bullpen. Smith, 27, is supposed to be a key part of the revamped group. The Giants acquired him at the deadline last season hoping he turns into the next Jeremy Affeldt, a lefty capable of facing left- and right-handed hitters.

After a slow start in San Francisco last August, Smith ended the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. The Giants entered camp with Smith set to share the eighth-inning role with right-handers Derek Law and Hunter Strickland.

Paraag Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM

Paraag Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM

SANTA CLARA – As team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe traveled the country during the 49ers’ search to fill their head coach and general manager positions, there was plenty of criticism that followed them at every stop.

York, the CEO, has been held accountable by the local media and on social media, as he publicly welcomed, in recent seasons when the 49ers fell from the NFC Championship game to 8-8, 5-11 and 2-14 under three different head coaches.

A year ago, Marathe officially was replaced as team president and became the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. His duties with the football team have not changed.

In fact, York and Marathe roles with the organization took on a much-greater significance after the decision was made to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers interviewed six head-coach candidates and 10 individuals who were considered for the general manager position.

Along the way, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels bowed out, likely because his top choice to be his general manager partner, Nick Caserio, opted to remain as the Patriots’ chief of personnel. Then-Kansas City executive Chris Ballard declined an interview and another serious candidate, Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst, removed his name from consideration to remain with the Packers on a new contract.

After more than a month, the 49ers finalized the hirings of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, who officially accepted the job the day after the Atlanta Falcons’ crushing defeat in Super Bowl 51.

“Nothing speaks better to the process than the quality of the two men that we hired,” Marathe told CSNBayArea.com. “I can’t tell you, just in the last two weeks even, how inspiring it’s been to be at work, just seeing these guys work together and how they’ve already transformed the building.”

Marathe joined the “49ers Insider Podcast” for a wide-ranging interview that touched on his personal life, as well as his responsibilities during his 16 years with the 49ers. The entire 43-minute podcast can be heard here.

Marathe has remained behind the scenes working for the 49ers mostly on contract and salary-cap matters. There has been mystery about his role while working with head coaches Steve Mariucci, Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula, Kelly and, now, Shanahan.

At one point during the search, Pro Football Talk, citing “thinking inside league circles,” described Marathe as being viewed as an “impediment” to the 49ers' ability to attract top candidates for their openings.

“It’s unfortunate that’s out there, if that’s out there,” Marathe said. “I won't say it’s something that doesn’t bother me at all. Of course, it stings. But I do know, I try to keep my head down and do a good job and support the people who are here. All I try to do is earn their respect and their trust on what I do. I feel like I’ve been able to do that. I think the individuals that you would talk to, if you talked to them, they’d probably tell you the same thing.

“I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am, which is a support to the coach and the GM.”

This offseason, former 49ers coach candidate Adam Gase told CSNBayArea.com one of the reasons he really wanted the head-coaching position in 2015 was because of his relationship with York and Marathe.

Arizona executive Terry McDonough, a finalist for the 49ers’ GM job, went out of his way to compliment Marathe shortly after he learned Lynch was hired.

“When I was done with that first interview, I said, ‘This is a guy I would want to partner with, along with Jed and whoever the new head coach might be,’” McDonough said of Marathe.

A source close to McDaniels reached out to CSNBayArea.com to dispel any notion that McDaniels’ decision to remain with the Patriots was any reflection on those running the 49ers’ search. McDaniels stated he was impressed with York, Marathe and Brian Hampton, the team’s director of football administration and analytics.

The roles of Marathe and the organization’s use of analytics have been a topic of intrigue for years. Marathe said his role is merely to support the individuals on the football side to provide the team with any kind of advantage.

“My job is to keep my head down, stay my lane, do my job and help the head coach and GM as much as I can," he said.

Marathe added, "Coach Harbaugh, as you know, was looking for every advantage. One thing why he has so much success, he’s always looking for every advantage he can get. He used to use that NASCAR example, if you can figure out how to go 1 mph faster.

"So anything that helped him, we would go through. We’d talk after other games in the league about, ‘Hey, that team, they had one minute left. How many plays do you think they could’ve gotten off in that time? I thought six. Well, I thought seven.’ We’d go through it and talk through it. So, yeah, they were receptive, and it was good.”

Marathe said Lynch and Shanahan have already asked for his opinions on the feasibility of some of the upcoming decisions the organization must make during the offseason.

“I come at it from a different perspective, which is from the salary cap and contract side of things and also just having seen a lot over the years, in terms of how deals get made or how trades happen,” Marathe said.

Without specifying a position of inquiry, such as quarterback, Marathe said he has already provided Lynch and Shanahan with reference material for what it has taken to acquire players in past NFL trades.

“Here are all the other examples of when this position was traded for, and what people gave up to trade,” Marathe said. “That would establish the range for us if we are curious about a player at that position. And then we have a discussion from there.”

As the 49ers prepare for free agency, Marathe said the personnel department and coaching staff will rank the players by position. Then, Marathe will come up with comparable players and provide a range of what he anticipates a player will command on the open market. That leads to more discussion about which players are seen as better fits when considering football and finances.

“It’s my job to keep our cap as flexible as possible,” Marathe said. “But from a football standpoint, making decisions on players, that’s those two guys . . . I’m not good at that. That’s what they’re really good at, and that’s who I take my direction from.”

The 49ers have approximately $80 million in salary cap space entering the offseason. But that does not necessarily mean the 49ers will be willing to pay above market value to attract any players.

“I think there are times when you want to be a little bit more aggressive, versus maybe not be as aggressive,” Marathe said.

“The beauty of how the salary cap works, you can roll over the room to future years. There won’t ever be a salary cap dollar that’s unspent. We’ll always spend it. It just may not be this month. It could be next month or it could be next year. We’ll spend ever dollar. It doesn’t change the values. The values are still driven by what the market dictates.”