With the recent resignation of Mike D’Antoni, the New York Knicks will soon be looking for a new coach to lead their storied franchise. Two names come to mind immediately: Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan.
Both won a ton of games in their long NBA head-coaching careers, and both are well-respected around the league. Ultimately, though, Jackson is the better fit for the New York Knicks.
It’s no slight to Sloan at all to say such a thing. There are many reasons why that it is so.
Rings are King
The sad truth is that Sloan did not win a single ring during his 20-year tenure with the Utah Jazz. While very few blame him at all for that, it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t win any.
We all know about Jackson’s ring collection and the players he’s coached in the past. His reputation immediately commands respect and will force the Knicks players to listen.
Sloan had a bit of a reputation for being too old-fashioned by the end of his time in the league. He’d coached the same franchise for two decades and used the exact same system and plays during the entire time. Things had gotten stale, and I’m not sure that the volatile mix that is the Knicks team would respond well to his methods.
Jackson had built his career upon dealing with difficult players and making them fit together to play championship basketball. From Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to Kobe, Pau Gasol and Ron Artest, Jackson had taken superstar pieces and fit them together into the shape of championship trophies.
The next group he does that with could very well be Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
Players Fit a System
The players the Knicks have would also fit Jackson’s system better X’s and O’s wise than that of Sloan.
Sloan’s system is based around a great point guard and big man. He had many great years with John Stockton and Karl Malone and had success with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer in the 2000s.
However, the Knicks don’t fit that mold. Jeremy Lin is good, but he doesn’t fit that type of system like he did that of D’Antoni. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t really fit that either.
However, the triangle offense was tailor-made for this team. Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and Anthony would flourish in that system. Three-point shooters like Steve Novak and J.R. Smith would space the floor and allow the others room to penetrate and get to the rim.
With his ability to manage egos and players well both on the court and off, Jackson could be the missing piece that makes this Knicks team a contender for years to come.
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