Steve Kerr decided to join Golden State and a team that is better situated to win now, rather than join his former head coach Phil Jackson in the Big Apple and that New York state of mind. So, Jackson must now select a new head coach among several that are available.
He seems to be the most likely choice, despite a horrid debut as a HC with the Dallas Mavericks from 1996-1998 (28-70) when they went their separate ways after Jerry Reinsdorf booted everybody out of Chicago. Cleamons has an understanding of the Triangle after having been an assistant on Jackson’s previous teams in Chicago and with the Los Angeles Lakers. Most importantly, he has shown he can work for Jackson and that’s not always an easy task. As great as he is, Jackson has a very strong willed and stubborn personality so the chances of him luring a name coach is slim. That’s a huge reason Jackson was interested in Kerr, familiarity.
Cleamons will only be the figurehead as the HC, he’ll have Jackson whispering sweet nothings and coaching advice in his earpiece while he’s standing on the sidelines.
Fisher played for Jackson in Los Angeles with the Lakers and will retire after this season. Fisher could turn out to be another Jason Kidd, first-time coach with absolutely no experience. Having played the point guard position, Fisher knows how to run a team. Now, coaching is often said to be different but is it really that much different for a former PG? Maybe, for any other position it might. But, PG’s are responsible for setting up the offense and directing the pace of the game, distributing the ball, and knowing where the players are supposed to be on the floor. Surround him with some veteran assistant’s and he could be just fine. Having been a former president of the players union, Fisher will command respect. Plus, he’s a likeable guy, he shouldn’t have a problem in the locker room with players that might be close to him in age.
Rambis is also familiar with Jackson and has the most experience (56-145 in three seasons with the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves) and actually had some success with the Lakers. In 1998-1999 he was the coach and LA went 24-13 before they were swept in the Western Conference semifinals by the San Antonio Spurs. The following season, Jackson joined the team and the rest is history.
Rambis has experience with the Triangle and that’s going to be a requirement as Jackson is surely going to want the offense run.
The common denominator is all these coaches have experience working with Jackson. Mark Jackson, Lionel Hollins, and Nate McMillan aren’t coming to save the day, Knick fans. Jackson is as close to a dictator as there is, he got the job he wanted and he will not be bringing in anybody he may clash with. I believe it will be one of these three, in order.
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