The ex-Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson in a podcast with Shannon Sharpe talked about how current NBA players differ from the past
For NBA fans, Mark Jackson is a familiar household voice along with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. The ESPN analyst, ex-NBA player, and head coach recently joined Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay”.
He shared his experience from all the different roles he has played in the NBA. Jackson had a good 17-year career as a player in the NBA.
Mark was able to play against Bird & Magic, Jordan & Pippen, Kobe & Shaq. If that was not enough proof of how well he knows and understands the game of basketball, he was the Head coach of the Warriors team before it became “the Warriors Dynasty”. He laid their foundation.
Mark Jackson says current NBA players are not as smart as players in his era
While expressing his views about the skills of the current generation of players compared to previous ones, he said,
“Today’s players are certainly more athletic, more skilled – shooting, handling – and more versatile. The one thing that they are; they’re not as smart.”
“Because I didn’t have the athleticism, the quickness, the explosiveness, I had to become smarter than everybody else on the floor.”
Mark Jackson was a 6’3 point guard, he had a promising start to his career winning NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season and an All-Star appearance in the second. The NBA-assist leader in 1997, Mark was a very skilled passer.
He continued “I studied the game at seven years old, at eight years old, I knew inside out whatever situation you put me in, I knew how to respond. It didn’t mean I had the answer, but I knew what the answer was.”
“I don’t think because these guys are so athletic, so versatile, so explosive, so fast, I don’t think they have to lean on the same smarts and understanding that we had to growing up. It’s a credit to how far they’ve come as basketball players, but now you have to match the talent with the smart.”
Obviously, Mark is excluding the likes of LeBron James, Chris Paul and, Rajon Rondo when he’s talking about those skills though they are all in the latter end of their careers.
But there are young guns like Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic who do not rely on their athletic or explosive abilities. They are just smarter than others.