Phil Calls Knicks “Clumsy”
When watching the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder battle in the NBA FInals, one thing becomes abundantly clear to the New York basketball fan. The New York Knicks are light years away from being title contenders! Though many Knicks fans celebrated their playoff berth this season, followed by their first playoff victory in a decade, I think watching the rest of the postseason really places things in perspective. The Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder all put up a much better fight against the Miami Heat then the Knicks did, and after Miami wins its first Championship, I don’t see them losing any momentum in the next few years. Many Knicks fans were banking that legendary Head Coach Phil Jackson might enter the fold and help lead the Knickerbockers to the promised land, but apparently Coach Jackson feels the same way about the Knicks as would any other fan realist.
In an interview with HBO’s Andrea Kremer, Jackson stated that even had he been offered the head coaching position for the Knicks, he would have declined. When asked if he was interested in the gig, Jackson replied “there’s just too much work that has to be done with that team…It’s a little bit of a clumsy team.” He further explained his point by saying “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.” If the Zen Master is correct, and I tend to think he usually is, then the Knicks are in a lot of trouble with the current roster. Carmelo Anthony has been a premier scorer during his 9 NBA seasons, and we saw what happened when he was asked to pass the ball…bye bye Mike D’Antoni! With the max money the Knicks have tied up in both “Superstars”, it will be hard to trade the one that they would most like to separate from, Amare. News also came out that Iman Shumpert won’t be ready to go until December at the earliest with his knee injury, and it’s also a possibility that an injury of that magnitude can have long-lasting ill effects on a young player who depends on his defensive lateral quickness. Jeremy Lin is a free agent, and there are some skeptics who don’t know if the Knicks will, or should invest a lot of money into Linsanity.
Phil Jackson’s criticism comes as a surprise because he is known to be a Knicks supporter. Phil was drafted by the Knicks back in 1967, and established himself as a fan favorite in his role off the bench. He spent 11 years with the Knicks and was a key member of the 1973 Championship team, and also on the roster nursing an injury for the 1970 title. The Knicks haven’t won a Championship since Phil Jackson’s name was on the team’s roster, and it was believed that Jackson always possessed the desire to come back to NY to lead the Knicks to another title before his final retirement. Now Jackson was never offered the job in the first place, as the Knicks showed loyalty to Mike Woodson, but now we know that if he had been offered to him, Jackson wouldn’t touch this team with a 10 foot pole. The fact that Jackson has spent a career blending the Superstar abilities of Michael Jordan with Scottie Pippen and Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O’Neal, and he doesn’t think this current combination of Knicks talent will work should tell Knicks fans all they need to know about the immediate future. So for now, sit back and enjoy watching real NBA Superstars win a Championship from afar because according to Coach Jackson, New York will not have an up close view of true winning basketball for a long time to come.