The second Phil Jackson walked away from the Los Angeles Lakers the immediate speculation was that he would return to coach he team he once played for – the New York Knicks. Never mind that PJ has health issues that factored heavily into his decision to leave the game. Everyone seems to think all Jackson ever does is show up at ready-made situations and roll out the balls then watch as the praise rolls in.
What people tend to forget is that Jackson takes a very intellectual approach to the game. That means he prefers to coach players who take a similar approach. Yes, believe it or not guys like Dennis Rodman and Metta World Peace are actually smarter at their profession then a lot of people with terminal degrees are in their respective fields.
That’s why PJ coaching the Knicks was always bar room talk and nothing more. And just to further that point Jackson let it all hang out in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports. When asked if he had considered taking the Knicks job Jackson didn’t shy away from telling it the way he sees it.
“I wasn’t gonna take that job; that’s for sure. 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.”
So, for the record, Carmelo Anthony is a bigger ball hog than Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. At least according to the greatest coach in the history of the game if you value that sort of opinion.
Now this could just be a case of Phil being Phil. He loves to get under the skin of certain people for whatever reason so maybe there is more going on beneath those still waters. None the less this just furthers the raging debate between talent versus greatness.
In the era of highlight hoops we’ve seen far too many players elevated to greatness mantle because of their stats and nightly appearances on SportsCenter. Coaches like Jackson know there is much more to the game. Thus Jackson adopted a very strict hoops philosophy that led him to the most accomplished career in the history of the game.
Anyone who though the Knicks were going to be title contenders the second Amare and Carmelo suited up together has been proven as foolish as those who thought Jackson would follow the bread crumbs back to NYC. Having said all that it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Jackson ends up taking the Knicks job at some point. Like I said, you never know the true purpose of Jackson’s actions until they reveal themselves at the appropriate time. Could this just be more manipulation from the master? Likely not but you never truly know with PJ.