Keith SchlosserShould Derek Fisher opt to play another year or take some time off, Phil Jackson may need to get creative when it comes to hiring the next head coach of the Knicks.
As the team looks to resume a quest for greatness, could this end up being the year Patrick Ewing returns to the Big Apple?
Of course, fans can dream. But perhaps hiring Ewing isn’t as farfetched as it may seem.
Jackson is reportedly “open” to talking to former Knicks’ guard turned former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson about the team’s respective vacancy. That said, he’s also asserted well throughout this search that he has plans for the triangle offense in New York, and that familiarity with it from a prospective coach is a plus.
With that in mind, it could be argued that Ewing actually has more experience with the triangle than (Mark) Jackson, or any other “outside” candidate the Zen Master may consider.
Recently, longtime NBA coach Mike Dunleavy advocated for his own candidacy for the Knicks’ job by asserting he could teach the triangle, largely in part due to the fact his previous teams had to learn it while competing against Jackson’s teams over the years.
Could the same theory also apply to Ewing? In addition to being best friends with Michael Jordan, there’s no denying Ewing’s Knickerbockers were forced to match up against the triangle through some of the big man’s prime years in orange and blue. Is it safe to assume, he, too, understands Jackson’s system?
Since moving on from his playing days, Ewing has served as an assistant coach (with the Wizards, Rockets, Magic, and now the Bobcats-turned- Hornets) for well over a decade now. Though, he was at one time, stereotyped as a big man’s coach, he’s undoubtedly learned new concepts along the way. What’s more, he’s continued to campaign for a head coaching job through the years. As it stands, he currently serves as Associate Head Coach for the Hornets under former Knicks’ assistant Steve Clifford.
Would a call from Ewing’s buddy MJ be enough to convince Jordan’s longtime mentor that his friend deserves a shot to run the show for a team once and for all?
Jackson hasn’t exactly had the opportunity to make a splash just yet, but it’s safe to say Carmelo Anthony and the team’s entire fan base alike are on pins and needles awaiting his first big move. What better way to help set the tone by bringing one of the organization’s all-time greats back into the fold?
Ewing’s potential return during such a transitional period for the team would be an interesting storyline with a potentially satisfying fairytale ending, should the Big Fella be able to capture success with the Knicks yet again.
With complete control and a final say over all basketball operations, Jackson may actually represent Ewing’s best chance at coming back once and for all. It just so happens the Knicks also have a desirable job opening. Needless to say, Ewing arguably meets all of the qualifications for the position, including those that are most important to Jackson.