Which available coach would be the best fit for the Knicks?
Adande: Since Phil Jackson has established that he wants someone who shares his outlook on basketball, Steve Kerr makes sense. So would Jim Cleamons, Jackson’s former assistant with the Bulls and Lakers who’s currently on Larry Drew’s staff in Milwaukee. Jackson wanted Brian Shaw to succeed him in Los Angeles, but it would be too messy to try to pull him out of Denver after his first season with the Nuggets.
Elhassan: Steve Kerr. Phil Jackson reiterated Wednesday that the triangle would be coming to the Big Apple, so that eliminates a lot of hopeful candidates with no experience. Kerr has intimate knowledge of the triangle from his time in Chicago, but more importantly, he shares Jackson’s ability to communicate and connect with people — and motivate them — from diverse backgrounds.
Shelburne: The Knicks are locked in on Steve Kerr, and I can see why. Don’t let Phil Jackson’s talk of not being able to coach anymore fool you; he’s going to be very hands on. From what I hear, Jackson is planning to be at training camp, “supervising,” from the jump. He needs a young coach who understands him and his ways. If Kerr passes, I’d love to see Luke Walton in that role. He has the perfect temperament to handle such a bold move, and he’s basically Jackson’s basketball son.
Stein: I don’t subscribe to the “Duh, it’s Phil” theory because I don’t think his heart is in coaching anymore. So the Knicks wouldn’t be getting that Phil. I like the Steve Kerr concept. I think he’s secure enough in himself to handle the Gotham media cauldron and he has the close relationship with Jackson that’s going to be a must here. Can’t see Jackson hiring someone he doesn’t know well. Plus I’d love to see if Mentor Phil and Student Steve can come anywhere close to replicating the Pat Riley/Erik Spoelstra dynamic. Different circumstances, but a fun experiment to cover.
Windhorst: I’ve talked to Kerr about his basketball philosophies. He believes in playing through the big men with a more traditional inside-out offensive system like the triangle. Remember, he did trade for Shaq as the GM in Phoenix. I do believe he would be a good match to work with Jackson because of their history together and the way they see the game. Also, because Jackson has little executive experience but lots of coaching experience and Kerr has little coaching experience and lots of executive experience, this would be a nice fit. Kerr is also smart enough to rebuff the Knicks for a while; everyone in the league knows the more you say no to them the more zeros get added to the offer.
I believe Kerr is the right fit if and only if the Knicks decide to run the triangle. Kerr is smart that is understood, but most importantly if the triangle is run right those 15 losses the Knicks had by 5 points or less this year would be a different outcome. I say that because the rotation and the in-game management would be a complete different story under Kerr and the triangle. Players must commit to the triangle unlike their lack of commitment this year under Woodson’s flawed system. Having 5 players on the court that are willing to pass and understand ball movement is the key to a successful team in the 14/15 season.