Former NBA point guard and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith thinks ESPN analyst Mark Jackson is the man for the Lakers’ coaching vacancy.
“Mark Jackson, he knows how to handle that kind of environment,” Smith told TMZ Sports. “He put the Warriors in contention of what they are,. The way they play, their style of play. Stephen Curry owes a lot to his career, because before Mark got there, Steph Curry wouldn’t even play in fourth quarters. We wouldn’t think he was a great player, a great defender.”Jackson was linked to the Lakers’ coaching vacancy earlier this week, when The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported LeBron James would be in favor of Jackson landing in LA. James and Jackson share an agent in native Clevelander Rich Paul.
“Mark Jackson could coach the Lakers to a championship, for sure,” Smith said.
Jackson last coached in the NBA in 2014 with the Warriors. He has served as an in-game ESPN analyst since, but has been linked to multiple jobs almost every offseason. It is believed he would return to coaching in the right situation.
Jackson, 57, went 121-109 in three seasons with the Warriors, leading them to back-to-back playoff appearances. Before that, they had missed five straight postseasons. So you could say Jackson helped build the car that eventually hit the fast track to NBA success.
The Lakers parted ways with coach Frank Vogel after three seasons on Monday. James told reporters he won’t be making the decisions on roster moves this summer.
“It’s not my decision to sit here and say, ‘Well, this is what we should bring back and have on the roster,’” James told reporters, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “That would be the front office’s decision. And obviously they may ask my input, but at the end of the day, they’ll make the decision they feel that best suits this franchise going forward.”