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Head Coach Patrick Ewing?


From playing Knicks center to center of Knicks?

Patrick Aloysius Ewing has made it clear that he wants to be a head coach in the NBA.  He is currently the Assistant Coach of the Orlando Magic where he is learning under a very smart coach in Stan Van Gundy.  He has been coaching under the tutelage of Van Gundy since the 2007-2008 season and the Magic have been thriving in the Eastern Conference as perennial playoff contender ever since.  For some reason, even with his coaching successes, there has been an unfair stigma left on him saying he can only be a “Big Mans Coach.”  I feel that his credentials not only warrant him at least a chance at being a Head Coach, but I think he will make an extremely good one based on who he has learned from.  First let’s begin with his personal numbers as a Basketball player.

ESPN ranked Patrick the 16th greatest NCAA basketball player of all time.  Ewing decided to attend the John Thompson lead Georgetown Hoyas in 1981 and brought them to 3 National Championship games and earned 1 National Title.  The NBA then decided to initiate a new “draft lottery” that would prevent teams from throwing games at the end of seasons to gain a better draft pick.  It is said that Ewing was the reason this was implemented due to his ridiculously high value as a player.  My New York Knicks won the first NBA draft lottery and selected the future Hall of Fame Center with a lot of hope.  Even in an injury plagued rookie season, Patrick still went on to win the Rookie of the Year while averaging outstanding numbers of 20 ppg, 9 rpg, and 2 bpg.  He quickly became known as a premier Center in the NBA and was soon showered with all types of honors.  With crazy rebounding skills and an uncanny ability to block shots, Patrick Ewing made the NBA All-Star team a remarkable 11 times.  Ewing was also selected to represent America in the Olympics as a member of the original 1992 Dream Team where he brought home the Olympic Gold.  At the end of his storied career, Ewing was picked as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time and had his #33 jersey retired by the Knicks.  The one thing that always eluded Patrick Ewing was that so-close-but-so-far NBA Title.

After being coached by the likes of Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Jeff Van Gundy (Stan’s brother) and many more, Patrick Ewing has definitely paid his dues.  Ewing took it on himself to help train and develop the best Center in the NBA today, Dwight Howard.  Ewing’s tutelage was the key factor in the Magic’s run to the NBA Finals in 2009 against the LA Lakers.  His defensive coaching style helped Dwight break the record for blocks in a playoff game (9) that Patrick himself once set (8) in the 1994 Finals against the Houston Rockets.  There are so many coaches that have worked with Patrick that say he can be a Head Coach in this league, and a good one at that.  Yet, even with all of these positive accolades, Patrick still has not been able to get the opportunity he wants.  This past off-season, Patrick got his first Head Coaching interview with the Detroit Pistons but the job was given to the past New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank.  With how Detroit is playing this season that might have been a blessing in disguise.  Before Wednesdays massacre of the Knicks over the Magic, Patrick went on to say this about the idea of being the Knicks head coach, “I played here. I know the ins and outs of New York, the media, the fans.”

As a huge Patrick Ewing fan, I would love to see him have this opportunity; assuming Mike Woodson’s current success comes back to reality and his contract doesn’t get renewed.  Whether his opportunity comes from the Knicks or one of the many currently dismal NBA teams, Patrick deserves a chance to be a head coach.  I want to see it.  Do you think he deserves a chance?  If so, where should he go?

2 responses

  1. Without Dwight’s dominance, Orlando would not have made the finals. Without Ewing’s one-on-one coaching with Dwight, he doesn’t dominate. That is the reason I said that. I do agree that a lot of players that become coaches fizzle out and do nothing, but there are some success stories. Doc Rivers and Mike Woodson have proved to be very good coaches and although it’s only his first season, Mark Jackson has done a very acceptable job with the Golden State Warriors. The one common denominater between those three coaches is that they all played for the Knicks. As did Phil Jackson.
    Everyone knows that challenges that come with playing in New York and those that go through it and do so successfully definitely have a step up on other athletes when it comes to thick skin and coaching in the NBA requires that. I am not saying Ewing will be the next Phil Jackson but what I am saying is that he deserves a shot at a head coaching position.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:09 PM

  2. I think giving Ewing majority of the credit for Orlando making the finals in 2009 is a bit too much. It might have been a factor, but not the key factor.

    I really liked the information about Ewing in the draft lottery, I didn’t know he was the first ever lottery pick. You also did a really good job highlighting the different feats he accomplished in his career.

    I think that your desire to see Ewing coach is slightly based on his success as a player. I believe if you look at the track record of previous great players (Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas), they don’t always make the best coaches. It is usually fringe players like Phil Jackson, or individuals who played at other levels but not necessarily the NBA (Greg Popovich), who have maintained long team success.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:54 PM

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