Keith Schlosser, Lead WriterPhil Jackson provided a glimpse into his progress with the Knicks’ coaching search. And although Derek Fisher is, at this point, considered to be a favored candidate, such a search is still wide open as New York explores a handful of potential leaders.
Jackson is taking his time with such a process, but with Carmelo Anthony’s potential impending free agency steadily approaching, the Knicks’ President will need to provide the team’s superstar (along with everyone else) with a more accurate direction sooner than later.
Still, if anything is clear at this point, it’s that Jackson appears to be going about things in the right way.
At first, the idea of a thirteen-time NBA champion like Jackson potentially opting to hire a first-time head coach was a bit underwhelming. A proven winner with plenty of connections (and a resume that commands respect from just about anybody in the NBA), there’s no doubt Jackson could have his pick from the cream of the crop. Would hiring a young coach result in Jackson and the Knicks selling themselves short? The Hall of Fame coach turned executive hasn’t exactly explored all options, but even if he had and were coming up short, wouldn’t stepping in himself to coach be a more impressive move?
Not exactly. Jackson is more concerned with building a winner, by developing a core group from those with whom he has realized success with previously. Whether or not that creates a splash in the public eye now appears irrelevant.
Ironically enough, hiring an up and coming coach would likely provide the Knicks with a bit more of Jackson’s potential influence than bringing in an already established veteran coach would.
The 68-year-old is physically unable to meet the grueling demands of a traveling schedule in The Association. Having said that, in presenting Fisher and/or a hungry NCAA coach with an opportunity to lead the Knicks, perhaps such a hire would be more willing to accept guidance from Jackson in return.
Bringing in a newbie, so to speak, would mean such a first-time NBA coach would want to lean on Jackson even further. The executive could be present during home practices and maintain a presence in the locker room, all the while ensuring his influence is felt throughout.
Perhaps in hiring a first-timer, the Knicks would end up benefiting from dual coaching perspectives (Jackson included), providing them with a touch of the best of both worlds.