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Phil Jackson

Trade Analysis: Phil Jackson to the New York Knicks

New York Knicks get: President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson for five years, $60 million
Bockerknocker: Nobody needs to explain the current state of the New York Knicks. Similarly, nobody needs to explain that the hiring of Phil Jackson to run the basketball operations of a once-proud franchise is a good move. What this really means, however, is that owner James Dolan must be Straight-Shot scared that his good buddy Carmelo Anthony will really leave for greener pastures this offseason.
We’ve seen this tired act of “autonomy” given by Dolan before. Former wheelchair-bound general manager Donnie Walsh was given the directive of getting the Knicks out of the hole that Isiah Thomas continued to dig even after his ouster. But remember when Walsh was ready to pass on sending young players and quality draft picks to Denver for Anthony, knowing that the ready-to-leave superstar would sign in free agency? Dolan stepped in, mortgaged the future for a “me first” player, and autonomy was vanquished.
Jackson comes to the Apple with a much richer caché, of course, and is far more likely to hold Dolan to his word. But before he arrived, I, for one, assumed Anthony would stay for the money and for the ability to choose his next coach. Now, Jackson won’t allow that, and all the championship rings in the world won’t be able to convince Anthony that he should waste one of the final years of his prime in the hopes that Jackson will reload for 2016.
If Anthony does stay, it will be a testament to the team-first character of which Jackson believes is within Anthony, based on the role Anthony played on Team USA. It will also justify the hire without regard to whatever happens next. But one thing must be clear: the Bockers are still a 2016 team, at best. There is no amount of Zen that can change that.
KOBEsh: I only disagree on a couple of points, but overall, I’m completely with you—this was a solid, though unspectacular signing for the Knicks. … Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Mike D’Antoni to the Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers get: Mike D’Antoni

Mike D’Antoni gets: 3 years, $12 million (fourth year team option), a chance at redemption

Phil Jackson gets: A bowl of regret

Just three days removed from the last surprise development in LA, the Lakers decided not to hold back on the next one. The speculation throughout the weekend was that the recently fired Mike Brown would be replaced by 11-time NBA Champion head coach Phil Jackson. In the 11th hour, the front office shifted weight almost entirely the other way, it would seem, as they went out and signed former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. Whoa.

For many Lakers fans, myself included, we were waiting for an iPad and instead got a Nook Color. In the end, both could reach the same result, but ultimately you’re not getting the product you want.

There’s two seperate schools of thought on the hire right now, either round approval or damning criticism. D’Antoni has always been a polarizing figure in both of his head coaching stints and his time in LA won’t be any different. The biggest knock on MDA is his alleged indifference to defense, which was punctuated by the “Seven Seconds or Less” style and pace at which his Phoenix teams played. Led by current Laker Steve Nash, D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy counted on his squads getting up the floor as quick as possible, relying on his point guards propensity on the fast break and versatile wing players’ ability to finish at the rack or make long jumpers with no more than 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Essentially, they put up the rock as much as they could and let the defense sort itself out. Not exactly how Dr. Naismith wrote it up, but then again he used a peach basket for a hoop. And he was Canadian. Can’t trust him.

Whether you hated it or not, there’s no denying that the MDA Suns were one of the most exciting teams to come along in two decades of NBA basketball. They scored at a high rate and did so with style, leaving the viewer just as breathless as the athletes that raced up the court just in time to catch a perfect lob from the Nash’s hands. However, the price of such a highly touted scoring binge was seemingly the defense. Whether or not he actually stressed defense or spent any time coaching it during practices (which has been subject to much dispute), Mike’s squads have never been anything more than middling defensively. Here’s where MDA-led (full season) squads have ranked amongst the league in defensive efficiency, which is points per 100 possessions:

2004-2005 Phoenix Suns: 17th
2005-2006 Phoenix Suns: 16th
2006-2007 Phoenix Suns: 13th
2007-2008 Phoenix Suns: 16th
2008-2009 New York Knicks: 23rd
2009-2010 New York Knicks: 27th
2010-2011 New York Knicks: 22nd

Therein lies the problem. D’Antoni’s best teams, the 2004-2008 Suns, weren’t nearly as awful defensively as reputed. In fact, they were fairly overblown. Between Shawn Marion (a very able defender whose reputation precedes him–he’s never made an All-Defense team), Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson,  PHX had several capable defenders, so their transition defense was always much better than it had any right to be. The Suns regularly ranked in the top half of the league in fast break defense, with the low water mark of 14th in 2004-2005 and all the way up to 6th in 2006-2007. Mike D’Antoni had the horses to not only execute his famed Seven Seconds or Less offense, but also to run a corresponding defense. I… Read more...