Saturday, June 16, 2012

Phil Jackson Speaks

Photo by - Getty Images -Photoshop by- Payton Wales

As we all suspected, the Zen Master is getting the itch, it just can't be scratched by the lime light of Madison Square Garden. In an interview that will air on Tuesday, Phil Jackson speaks with HBO's Andrea Kremer about the possibility of Jackson coaching the Knicks. There was speculation surrounding Jackson being approached about the Knicks vacancy earlier this year, after the departure of Mike D'antoni and before the hiring of interim coach Mike Woodson. Jackson claims he didn't receive a phone call from the Knicks front office, and that he's glad they didn't waste the long distance minutes on his behalf.

"I wasn't gonna take that job, thats for sure," said Jackson. As the interview went on he also added that the Knicks current roster is "clumsy" and that stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire don't fit well together. Jasckson's quote can be read below;

"Well, they don't fit together well. Stoudemire doesn't fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire's a really good player, but he's gotta play in a certain system and a way. Carmelo has to be a better passer and the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together."

Jackson, who won two NBA championships as a player in New York between 1967 and 1978, is considered to be the greatest coach in NBA history. Though all of his championships as a coach were when he had either Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, Jackson is credited with being able to manage the ego's of these players as well as get the maximum out of their supporting casts. In a recent interview with radio station KNBR in the Bay Area, Luke Walton, a former role player with the Laker's, says he never had half as much confidence playing for any coach as he did playing for Phil Jackson. Another huge success for Jackson, was the ability to persuade Hall of Fame caliber players to play in the triangle, which is an equal opportunity offense that prohibits over dribbling and isolation basketball. Talents such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Scottie Pippen were not accustomed to playing this style of basketball, but all adapted for the greater good of winning, and for Phil.

With this being said, if there is a coach that could dissect the Knicks issues and find a solution, it is Jackson. The Knicks clearly have an abundance of talent and ability. They have two excellent scoring options, an emerging your point guard, and an active wide body inside that protects the paint. Their pieces. when spoken without names, even sound like some of Jackson's former teams. Yet jackson is happy he didn't receive a phone call?

When asked by Kremer' "But wouldn't you have been the perfect person to come in and blend all that talent together? You sort of have a good history that." Jackson replied "Yeah, well, it never happened" It is important to point out that just a season before becoming the head coach of the Lakers, that Laker team was a complete wreck. They were absolutely loaded with talent, but after being swept buy the Spurs, who eventually went on to win an NBA championship, Shaq was quoted saying, "Some of these fools need to get off my team."In just one season, Jackson moves Kobe to the starting spot, finds hope in Derek Fisher, trades Eddie Jones, and hangs another championship banner in the rafters of the Staples Center.

It seems to me that Jackson is hinting that the Knicks made a mistake in not calling him. Though he adamantly claims that he has, and had, not interest in coaching the Knicks, he is a perfect fit. The Knicks won their first playoff game since Apple opened retail stores this year. They finished the regular season 18-6, playing defense and showing life of playing as a team. There is the question surrounding Amare's health, and the inability to move him and that contract if he doesn't quickly return to his 100 million dollar self, but how is that more alarming than taking over a Lakers team that was going to start a 20 year old high school kid that had just air balled his last shot of the season?

I don't want to call Phil a frontrunner here, but he can criticize the Knicks without also saying he wouldn't be interested in the job. For a talented coach, that isn't afraid to challenge all the player on his roster, and can manage ego's, New York is the spot. Success for New York basketball right now, is simply winning a playoff series. There is enough talent on the roster to do that with Mike Woodson running the show. A more talented coach, getting Carmelo to move the ball, and helping Amare find better spots for him on the floor that allow him to attack the offensive glass as well as score more efficiently, should be able to make waves in New York. If I know this, Phil knows this.



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