25 January 2012

Should Phil Jackson Come Out of Retirement?

Barring a stirring turnaround, it seems that Mike D'Antoni is all but done as head coach of the New York Knicks. Top of their list, and top of lists for every team as he is only one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the NBA, is Phil Jackson. Jackson, who retired after last season as his Log Angeles Lakers were taken out by the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals in the West. And he has not flat-out denied returning to coaching, particularly in New York. But the question I have is should he come out of retirement?

Jackson went into last season standing firm that it was going to be his last season as a head coach and even after the Lakers had a disappointing finish in the playoffs, he still retired. It's possible he was starting to feel burnout, which could certainly have occurred for Jackson, who is 66. And besides what else can he really do to enhance his legacy? He already has a whopping 11 NBA Championships and his legacy as one of, if not the, best coaches in not just NBA history but sports as a whole. Unless he needs money, which he probably doesn't but you never know, why would he want to try to save this mercurial Knicks team, one with potential tension between its two stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, who aren't great fits together anyways, and have to deal with the New York media as well as an idiot owner?

The answer is because he could absolutely make this work, and with an actual reasoning behind that statement other than saying "it's Phil Jackson, he can make anything work." Jackson's triangle offense does not have a big need for a great point guard, which he's never had and which the Knicks do not have right now, unless Baron Davis plays like he's 27 again. So their biggest hole, point guard, is masked in his offense. Jackson is also a master at dealing with temperamental superstars, this is the guy who weathered through the Shaq and Kobe crap in L.A., due to his holistic style of coaching. He also has the ability to get James Dolan to screw off and not mettle in the team's affairs, which is certainly not D'Antoni's style, he commands mass respect anyways so the media would not be on his ass, and if you can win a title in New York you will become revered (unless of course you manager the Yankees). Plus he also spent the bulk of his playing career in the Garden and was a key component of the two titles in 1970 and 1973.

So if I were Jackson, why the hell not? Did I just fuel a bunch of overly-optimistic Knicks fans? Probably and who knows maybe he doesn't want to return to coaching. But he has returned from retirement twice before...

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