Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! This weeks questions deal with the Great Philbo chances of resurrecting the Knicks, D’Antoni and Woodson’s future, the Playoff picture and do you believe in the Rocketmen?
Zach: I actually think Jackson will have more of an impact than Pat Riley did for the Heat. Barring all formalities, Jackson should be given the green light to demo this team and start anew. Like Riley of Miami, Larry Bird in Indy, and Flip Saunders of Minnesota, it’s becoming more and more of a common trait for old, burnt out coaches to take to the front office and continue to contribute in a different role. Jackson, THE greatest coach the NBA has ever seen, will definitely be a person to break the mold on a new, re-defined Knicks squad. I mean he really has a chance to make this Knicks team great again. The question is; will it be around Carmelo Anthony?
Bill: Given his reputation alone, I think his presence as part of the front office will give the fans something to believe in and when it comes to turning the team around. Jackson was an integral part in both the six-time champ Chicago Bulls and the five time champ LA Lakers, and having that pedigree will carry more weight than any other single person out there if the Knicks truly mean business and hope to compete. It also doesn’t hurt that Jackson is sort of a “home town” boy in that he was originally drafted by the Knicks. There’s little doubt that fact plays a part in his desire to change the fortune of the team that believed in him once, even if it was 46+ years ago.
DJ: Stephen A Smith recently said it’s no lock for Phil to take the Knicks job and I agree. New York is a good distance from the West Coast and Phil could be a candidate for the Kings or another team on the WC. Not sure if I agree with Smith on the Clippers because Phil is not a fan of Sterling. However, I think he’d be perfect in Gotham (if Dolan stayed out of his way, no sure thing there) considering he played for the franchise and he might consider letting Melo walk as a free agent and just look forward to their draft pick in 2015 and all the cap space they’ll have available to woo potential free agents. Plus, as most people know NY is the Mecca of hoops. I don’t know what the likelihood of Jackson committing to NY and being so far away from Jeannie Buss. That could be a huge deal breaker for Phil.
EJ: Here we go again. Once again James Dolan thinks he’s found the savior of the Knicks. If Isiah Thomas, Donnie Walsh, Larry Brown, Amare Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony fail, keep trying until you eventually succeed. Right? As the lone New Yorker on the panel, forgive me if I’ve cynical because I’ve seen this act play out before. Since the Knicks made the 1999 NBA Finals, this franchise has only advanced past the 1st round of the playoffs: one time. In those 14 seasons there have been some terrible 20 and 30 win teams. So, do I think Phil Jackson will fare any better? No. I don’t think he takes the job, and even if he does, his health issues and Dolan’s eventual interfering will make this a short stay for Mr. Jackson.
David: Has Phil Jackson ever BUILT anything? Just wondering. The man does one thing and one thing only. He takes Great and makes them legendary. This would be like taking Liam Neeson’s character from Taken and having him tend bar. Can he do it? Sure. Would be be good at it? Why not? But why would you? You put Rondo, Kevin Love on this team with a healthy Chandler and Jackson could make Carmelo a Hall of Famer. But now? JACKSON CANNOT COACH. He can’t get on the planes and endure the beatings- unless he can coach via skype, we have problems.
2. Is Mike D’Antoni’s time up out west? With two failed squads, is Mike’s “Fast Break” offense a thing of the past?
Zach: The Lakers do not want to look like fools for passing on Jackson, so I think to cover their tracks, Mike D will be given one more season. This season, being the wash that it was, didn’t solve anything. Nash hasn’t panned out in L.A., Howard left (not that he could run the floor anyway), and Kobe is nearing the end. Is it the end of MD in L.A.? Not exactly. Is it the end of the “Fast Break” offense? In a sense, it just shows you have to have the right guys to run it. Just remember, the Lakers were below .500 the season after they traded Shaq, only to make a deadline deal for Pau Gasol. After that it was like overnight that the Lakers were back. Just relax, Laker fans. The next big thing is yet to come for L.A.. Until then, have faith in Mike and the gang. There’s not really much else you can do.
Bill: I would have to say no, but the clock is certainly ticking much faster than it was when he started. To be honest, even with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers were never designed to be purely an offensive juggernaut as the Phoenix Suns were back when D’Antoni was at their helm. The Suns were built around a core of solid all-star players in their primes, whereas this Lakers team is filled with players who can barely manage to stay on the court let alone run up and back all night. Beset by injuries for the majority of the season, it’s not really fair to so harshly judge D’Antoni’s job with the players he’s had at his disposal. A coach is there to rally the troops, but it’s hard to rally when you’re working with injuries and players that are castoffs from other teams where they couldn’t make the cut. The Lakers are one of the proudest of franchises and seeing them perform at this level is hard to watch. If, however, D’Antoni is not able to right the ship and have the team compete by mid season of next year, I fully expect that we will have seen him coach his last NBA game.
DJ: Reportedly, he’s safe. But, we all know how well votes of confidence are, they are usually the kiss of death for a coach. The team has actually competed well this season, despite being snakebitten when it comes to injuries. And injuries are a huge reason for this horrible season, you have to believe they’d be drastically better with a healthy Kobe and the rest of the players that helped them achieve a 13-13 record earlier this season. They have missed the most games due to injuries, but the youngsters play hard. They have recently defeated Portland and Oklahoma City and even in losses, generally play hard.
So, if he is fired…..I think he’ll take a year off and maybe consider the college game. His offense would be very much like Paul Westhead at Loyola Marymount and be a big hit in the NCAA. I think he’d be better suited to the college game.
EJ: The Lakers are a bad team and one look at their roster ought to confirm that this 22-42 season of theirs is no fluke. Do I blame D’Antoni? No. Not really. For the most part the Lakers have been competitive this season. Outside of the beatdowns the Clippers have put on them this season, the Lakers have hung tough but ultimately lost to some good teams. Does this mean that Mike should be given another full season with the Lakers? No. I’d bring him back for next season but if they are faltering by early January 2015 I’d look to can him. As far as his offense? I don’t think it’s a thing of the past but in order to run it he needed what he had in Phoenix. A younger and healthier Nash, and excellent athletes.
David: It’s an issue of talent. D’Antoni would have been fine with the Clippers- I think he might be a better fit there than Doc Rivers, but it all starts with a point guard, and Ray Felton is no Nash, but you also need a good passing team with a mobile good center. How many of those have ever been on the Lakers Roster since Divac?
Zach:In the east, I think it will be the New York Knicks. Barring any serious injury to their “big three”, I think New York will put the drama aside, sneak into that eighth spot, enough to keep Mike Woodson around. Or maybe I’m just dreaming…
Zach: WELL, I’m not sure it was ever a question of talent. Obviously, the Rockets have the tools to become a powerhouse in the deadly west. The intriguing part is that they are really finding out about their personalities and really starting to work together well right now. They are clicking unlike any other time in the season. It should be interesting to see if anyone can beat the momentum they have going come playoff time. Then again, there is still a lot of regular season left.
Bill: Honestly, no. I was at the game where they barely managed a win versus the Suns a few weeks back and watched then blow an 18 point lead and barely manage to hold on (questionably on several occasions, too) to a three point win. Yes, Dwight Howard seems to have left all the nightmares of his single season in LA behind him and get back to enjoying basketball once again. I suppose those fat paychecks don’t hurt, either. Harden has been steady as always and is a nightly threat to dominate. Lin has shown little of what he had in NY while playing for the Knicks and if his contract wasn’t so terribly constructed, he’d be playing elsewhere right now. The rest of the Rockets of note, Beverley, Parsons, Jones, Metiejunas, and Casspi, are all doing what is asked of them when the starters either need a rest or aren’t playing as well as they should. This is a pretty deep team that’s been constructed to compete; that said, is it well enough constructed to dethrone the two time champion Heat? I don’t think so. Competition is fierce in the western conference, and any team can pull off an upset on any given night.
DJ: The Rockets have had a good season so far but the playoffs are completely different animal so to speak. It may take them a postseason together to figure out things, but they should be able to advance past the first round. But, again it depends on the playoff matchup and that’s still to be determined. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if they make it as far as the Western Conference Finals but think that’s their ceiling. A second round appearance is more likely, which is a minor improvement over last season.
EJ: Yesterday while watching the Lakers game, I sent DJ a text. My text said one thing: After the Clippers, I really think the Rockets are the best team in the West. I know the Spurs and Thunder have better records, but I really think the Rockets, as well as the Clippers, are really that good. Dwight Howard is healthy and confident, James Harden is one of the better scorers in the game, Chandler Parsons is a good 3rd wheel, and they get good contributions from the rest of the supporting casts. It will all depend on how the final playoff standings shake out,
Rondo and Green’s albatross contract for Lin, Asik, Jones and a pick or two?
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