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"He didn't know X's and O's, really" — when Joe Lacob revealed why he fired Mark Jackson

Even more than X's and O's, Lacob thought Jackson broke the fundamental management rule - ”It’s... Management 101.”
Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob speaks with head coach Mark Jackson

Joe Lacob and Mark Jackson

Before Steve Kerr turned the Golden State Warriors into a dynasty, Mark Jackson was the Dubs leading decision-maker along the sidelines. He guided the Warriors to two playoff appearances in three years. He was the first person to claim that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were the best shooting duo in the league. Amid all his relative success,  Joe Lacob sacked him and cited several reasons.

X’s and O’s

Lacob claimed that one of the reasons for Jackson’s firing was that the coach “didn’t know X’s and O’s, really.” It is an intriguing comment given that Jackson guided the Warriors to a 51-31 record in his last season as head coach.

Jackson’s lack of basketball expertise was just one of the reasons for his firing. Lacob revealed that the coach did not see eye-to-eye with his colleagues. This is a critical point. Lacob believes this little wrinkle would jeopardize the whole organization in the long run.

Part of it was, he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization. And, look, he did a great job -- and I’ll always compliment him in many respects -- but you can’t have 200 other people in the organization not like you,” Lacob said, per ESPN.

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Lacob, a businessman by trade, applied his learnings from his profession to the ranks of the NBA. From Lacob’s observation, there’s not much difference between the corporate and coaching hierarchy.

You can’t have a staff underneath you that isn’t that good,” Lacob said. “And if you’re going to get better, you’ve got to have really good assistants. You’ve got to have people that can be there to replace you. We all know this from all of our companies. It’s... Management 101.

Lacob was referring to Brian Scalabrine, an assistant under Jackson, who was reassigned to the G-League due to a “difference in philosophies.”

Jackson’s legacy

Once the Warriors were tagged as a dynasty, a good amount of critics barked at Jackson. He already had Curry, the greatest shooter ever, surrounded by a slew of talented players. In short, he had the right pieces but was not able to utilize them the way Steve Kerr did.

They have forgotten the adage that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” As Lacob himself said, Jackson deserves the credit for making the team better. Kerr even praised Jackson for making the Warriors a great defensive squad upon his takeover.

Jackson’s name consistently pops out whenever a team is on a coaching hunt. Haters are secretly satisfied when Jackson isn’t named as one of the top candidates. Perhaps there’s some truth to this. Jackson’s coaching stock isn’t as high to be included in the shortlist. But it’s foolish to simply discredit the coaching abilities he showed off during his time in the Bay. 

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