Thursday, June 9, 2011

Golden State Warriors: Hiring Mike Malone As Assistant Reveals More Than We Think

Joe Lacob and his Golden State Warriors hired Mark Jackson as their head coach on Monday, and with it came mixed reactions.

Jackson has zero coaching experience and quickly made the jump from game commentary to coaching. However, he brings a new, young and noticeable face to the Golden State Warriors franchise.


There had to be some kind of gimmick, right?

Certainly the Warriors would not hire an NBA commentator, with monotone catch phrases such as "Mama, there goes that man" and "hand down, man down," without something to help ease the pain to their extremely loyal fan base.

Enter Mike Malone.

The former New Orleans Hornets assistant coach, considered one of the best assistants in the game, will join Mark Jackson on the Warriors' bench next season.

This was a huge win for Lacob and Co., who literally snatched Malone from the cold, dead hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Malone was a much-coveted head coaching candidate before landing the assistant coaching job for the Warriors, even being considered for the position in Golden State he now sits under.

He was an extremely serious candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' assistant position because of his past ties to head coach Mike Brown.

He signed with the Warriors for a reported three-year deal, as well as a reportedly hefty sum for an assistant coach.

Malone is a smart guy with a passion for the defensive side of the ball, which is why the Warriors were able to throw such a heavy sum of money at an assistant coach (reportedly).

So what does the hiring of Malone say about the hiring of Jackson?

Some are saying Malone may currently be a better head coach than Jackson, although this is not proven since Jackson has yet to coach a single game at any level.

Make no mistake, Lacob knew what he was doing here.

Yes, he hired Jackson off the fact he is a big name with a strong desire to coach. But this Malone hiring may be the bigger story here.

This, to me, says the Warriors feel Jackson may not be ready for NBA coaching and may need a little help from someone a little more experienced, at least to start out. Malone is there to guide him.

Malone could have taken another job elsewhere. He was considered the top assistant coach in all of basketball. There has to be more to a story where the best up-and-coming coach settles for a mediocre assistant position.

Either the Warriors have payed him through the roof, or Lacob has a plan here.

It seems to be both.

I do not want to assume too much, but if Jackson cannot cut the mustard in Golden State after two years, I expect Malone would be extremely high on the list of potential head coaching candidates. In fact, he may be the only one on that list, as the reported amount of cash Lacob is paying him would seem to reveal.

For now, do not look at Golden State's new head coaching hire as a lost cause thrown at a man known for catch phrases during games with little known NBA analysis behind it.

Let's call the Warriors head coaching position for what it is. It is a joint coaching job served by Jackson and Malone.

At least it appears that way.

As for Lacob, he got his big name coach in Jackson. But more importantly, he got a future NBA coach in Malone, a defensive specialist that the team was in dire need of.

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