Bobby Jackson Embraces Coaching
Note: this article was originally written and published in May 2012.
After taking a break from basketball following the end of the 2012-13 season – during which he spent time with family and hit on the golf course – Kings Assistant Coach Bobby Jackson has turned his attention to the 2013 NBA Draft Combine. The former Sixth Man of the Year will join fellow coaches, front office executives and scouts in evaluating 60 participants at the annual event from May 15 to 19 in Chicago, Ill.
“(I’ll) plan my day around the Draft workouts,” he says. “I’ll watch a lot of film on guys, go to Chicago, do the pre-Draft camp stuff and bring guys in (for individual workouts) in June.”
No matter which prospects the Kings set sights on, after evaluating the squad’s improvement in the second half of the season, Jackson believes the team needs to maintain its up-tempo pace.
“We’re so young, we should be running up and down the floor all night long,” he says. “I think the faster we play, the better we are, and I think the key is to definitely play at a pace other teams don’t like.”
Growing increasingly more confident on the sidelines, the former Kings guard explains he entered his second season as an assistant coach with the same open-minded and studious approach which allowed him to thrive during his 12-year NBA playing career.
“Everything is about growing and learning for me – I think that’s the biggest thing,” he says. “I don’t think you can just say, ‘I know everything.’ (It’s) just like (playing) basketball – I always wanted to pattern myself after the best guys in the League. That just motivates you to be the best player and the best coach.”
While Jackson spent much of his first year in his new role absorbing information from more-experienced members of Sacramento’s coaching staff, he welcomed more responsibility in game-planning and play-calling in 2012-13.
“I think last year, I was fresh, (and I) didn’t want to rub people the wrong way,” he says. “This year, I got my feet wet. I came in a little more opinionated, talked more and schemed more.”
The North Carolina native has spent countless hours examining game film, aiming to decipher defensive sets and design less conventional plays.
“Everybody runs the same (schemes), but I try to find something that’s different,” he says. “I have a list of plays I put in my play-call book. I watch tape of different guys and different teams – what they do offensively, what they do defensively – and (ask), ‘What can we do to get to where they are?’
“I talked to (Head) Coach (Keith Smart) about substitutions and starters,” he adds. “As a coach, you’re always trying to figure out what things you want to implement … I just hope to grow and get better as an offensive or defensive coach.”
Kings players – including a pair of Jackson’s former NBA teammates – have recognized the University of Minnesota product’s hard work and progress.
“When we played together (on the Rockets), he led by his actions, played really hard and was a very smart player, too,” says Chuck Hayes. “Most of our (Kings) coaches played (professionally), but Bobby is the most recent, so he can relate to us more and he’s the most up-to-speed as far as the game – how to defend, what to expect and offensive schemes.”
“He was a good teammate, a cool guy (and) played with a lot of heart,” affirms John Salmons, who suited up alongside Jackson on the 2008-09 Kings. “As a coach, he’s the same way. (He’s gotten) better with scouting reports and how he communicates with the players. I’ve seen improvement in guys’ games after working with Bobby.”
Based on his exemplary track record and work ethic, Jackson – who hopes to once again serve as Kings Head Coach during NBA Summer League action – is proving he’ll continue to flourish.