Harris DeckerNow that Mike Woodson is out, we can officially begin pondering who makes sense to replace him on the Knicks bench. There is a logical choice and a dark horse. The logical choice is TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr who has been linked to the Knicks for weeks. He even stated publicly, before Woodson was fired, that if he were offered the job he’d take it.
Kerr makes a ton of sense because of his past relationship with Phil Jackson but it goes beyond that. Similar to Phil, Kerr is a winner. He won multiple titles in Chicago and continued his career in San Antonio, winning under another Hall of Fame coach, Gregg Popovich. It seems inevitable that Jackson and Kerr will reunite in New York in hopes of bringing a title to the Garden.
The dark horse in this race is Mark Jackson. Another former television guy like Kerr, Jackson was given the opportunity to coach the Golden State Warriors under a huge amount of uncertainty. Like Kerr, he had never been a head coach. Since taking the gig, Jackson has led the Warriors to a 121-109 record over three seasons. The lockout shortened 2011-12 was his only losing season and he is now attempting to upset the No. 3 seed Clippers after taking game one.
Unfortunately for Jackson, there is trouble in paradise. He has had a notoriously bad relationship with Joe Lacob, the Warriors owner. It has been rumored that unless he completes the upset over the Clippers, he will be out of a job.
That raises an interesting question. Does Mark Jackson make more sense than Steve Kerr to coach the Knicks? The simple answer is no. Kerr is the better option. The reasons why are not so simple.
If Phil Jackson was not running the Knicks, I would say that Mark Jackson is the better option. He now has experience as a head coach and has done a great job developing the young Warriors team. Mark Jackson knows how to develop a system and he’ll be a hot target if he is in fact relieved of his duties.
For the Knicks, the system is already here. That’s what makes this a very tricky situation. Phil Jackson is no ordinary president. He’s a man with a plan and it is for that reason that Kerr should be the guy. It’s not that Kerr won’t have original ideas but there’s a much lower chance that Kerr clashes with Phil Jackson. They would likely share a similar philosophy.
Also of interest is the fact that Mark Jackson clashed with his current owners. Would a controlling president be any different?
If I were a gambling man, I’d be putting my money on Kerr. He is one of Phil’s guys and would have no issues with taking some direction from his former coach. There will be no Jackson-Jackson party in New York.