No coach in NBA history has more championship rings than the 11 Phil Jackson accumulated with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
But the one thing he never did as a coach was go through a building/rebuilding process. Instead, he won because he could do what his predecessors in Chicago and Los Angeles couldn’t—mesh mega stars with role players for the greater good.
It’s one of the great criticisms of Jackson, the notion that anyone could have won with the talent he had with the Bulls and the Lakers.
Yet Doug Collins didn’t win with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. But Jackson did.
Del Harris couldn’t win with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. But Jackson did.
ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard is reporting that it appears Jackson will accept the New York Knicks’ offer to take over their basketball operations.
The Knicks are in the midst of a disastrous follow-up to last season’s 54-win campaign; New York has won four straight games to get to 25-40 and still trail the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference by 3½ games.
Can Jackson succeed in stabilizing a franchise in Madison Square Garden that has been often entertaining during James Dolan’s tenure as owner—entertaining in much the same way a multi-car pileup is.
Jerry West, who played for and built championship teams in Los Angeles, said Jackson can make a difference if he goes in with the right mindset.
“I think if he has the wherewithal to understand that these jobs are difficult, that they’re frustrating and he’s not going to be able to coach the players unless he wants to, I’m sure he could do a great job,” West told The New York Post.
As always, the players selected for the NBA Best of the Week must play at least 25 minutes a game in more than half of their team’s games (rookies must average 20 minutes a game to be selected).
All statistical information from NBA.com/Stats.