Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Anyone: Tyson, Jordan, JACKSON.

Post #55 Topic: Right Guy – Wrong Role

After another tempestuous season, the Knicks have once again begun the search for the head coach that will lead them back to NBA Glory Land. According to David Stern’s beliefs, if all goes well this year’s finals will involve the only team in the NBA that truly matters. Yes, when asked who his ideal finals would consist of, Scarsdale Native and member of dysfunctional commissioner’s club (populated by Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue and most recently, Roger Goodell) David Stern retardedly retorted: “the lakers against the lakers”

Uness Stern meant Lakers vs. that other team that plays their home games in the Staples Center, the Clippers, he’s either delusional or all too lusional (yes it’s a word). Afterall, this past summer we saw Kobe take on the entire Lakers organization and until Pao Gasol gets matched up against an NBA caliber center (not Nene or Kenyon Martin), we won’t truly know the victor of that oft-publicized battle of bullshit-land.

If Stern had a 2nd choice, regarding who from the east he’d like to see play the Lakers, all hints suggest that he would give the nod to the Celtics. However, given the recent scare raised by the previously unheralded, young, exciting, and athletic Atlanta Hawks, fans are starting to believe that the Celtics will always be, regardless of who occupies their team bus, 1 Michael Jordan short of a championship – just ask DeShawn Stevenson’s awkward beard; there is only one Michael Jordan.

Stern’s 3rd choice would certainly be the Knicks. The Knicks have all the makings of an NBA cash cow: a fan base who’s loyalty would magically reappear the second their record rose above .500 for what would feel like the 1st time since Willis Reed roamed the garden hardwood, a huge television market, and the ability to use a championship run to validate going ever further above the dollar for dollar luxury tax fringe. To put it in Laymen’s terms (or maybe Layden’s terms), if the Knicks reached the finals people would watch.

But you can’t just get to the finals. No, you need to assemble the appropriate cast which requires bringing in the right GM to bring in the right team, the right coach to coach that right team, and finally… the right team.

The GM position is an easy one to fill - Knicks fans would be thrilled with pretty much anyone who would pass up on French culinary expert Frederick Vice in the 1st round of the NBA draft, or be wise enough not to hinge the next 5 years of the team’s success on the deadly frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Eddie Curry, co-starting members of the all-ways disappointing team. The Knicks’ next GM has a simple job: let contracts expire, trade those pieces that still retain some value, keep Renaldo Balkman, Wilson Chandler, David Lee and MAYBE…just MAYBE, keep Malik Rose around for some veteran presence (assuming there’s not a SINGLE other team that would desire his services, given how terrible his experience has been in NY). Then, if all goes according to plan, the GM can field an aggressive offer for Lebron, D-Wade, Carmelo or Chris Bosh when their contracts expire in 3 more years.

Then there’s the coaching position, perhaps the most important element for a rebuilding team. The right coach will be young enough to relate to the young players, but old enough to know how the game was played before NBA locker rooms began doubling as munitions shops and tattoo parlors. The right coach will understand how to play an up-tempo game to keep pace with the Hornets, the Magic and the Jazz of the new NBA, but will also recognize a team’s defensive deficiencies and how to cure them. The right coach will bring a fresh approach to the game that will force the players to learn a new system, rather than relying on the currently implemented one which so clearly doesn’t function as planned. But the right coach will also feel comfortable bringing in more experienced veteran assistant coaches (Herb Williams?) as the ship’s anchor.

According to sources, including the New York Post and Rick Pitino, that man is Mark Jackson, one time point guard for almost every team in the league. Jackson satisfies that bullshit, nonsensical “high basketball IQ” requirement, knows that defense comes first, understands the value of a pass first, ball movement oriented offenses, comprehends the effects of a cohesive unit and most importantly can help bring the fans back to the seats. Mark Jackson is the right person, being considered for the wrong ROLE.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the NBA is once again shifting away from big man dominance (sorry D-Howard, Chris Bosh and Yi Yi Jianlian) to a little man’s game. The change began with Steve Nash who ushered in a new generation of court marshals who have elevated their clubs with fast play, heady offense, touchstone passing and when open, deadly penetration (the best type) – see Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo (yes Rajon Rondo), Manu Ginobili/Tony Parker, etc., etc., etc…

To win, you need a good point guard. Detroit never would have won without Chauncey Billups, the Lebrons would never have reached the finals but for Lebron, and the Spurs, well the Spurs are just too damn good (and may still be). So Mark Jackson is the right person for the Knicks – he’s just not being cast appropriately.

As far as things go now, MARK JACKSON SHOULD BE THE POINT GUARD FOR THE NEW YORK KNICKS. I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again, Stephon Marbury is the biggest running joke in all of New York sports. Bigger than the Jets, Bigger than Roger Clemens’ lying problem, bigger than the Madison Square Garden Ice – Stephon Marbury is the heart and soul of no heart and soul.

And Jamal Crawford is not the answer. And neither is Nate Robinson. Neither of these guys can run an offense – Jamal is shoot first and Nate is panic first cry later; two roundball theories whose only homes are whatever court the Washington Generals are playing on and Rucker park. Neither guy plays defense. Neither guy is an efficient penatrator – Jamal because his handle sucks and Nate because he’s a dwarf. Neither guy plays effective defense and neither guy seems willing to learn. Mark Jackson will bring all of these elements and on top of that has a career average of approximately 5 rebounds per game.

You may joke that Mark is old, but recall which point guard previously lead the Knicks to the finals. Forget? I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t Starbury. Derek Harper! Before that? DOC RIVERS!!!! And who plays an awful lot like Derek Harper? Mark Jackson. Taking 25 shots a game out of the point guard’s hand will do wonders for the Knicks. It will force defenses to play closer attention to David Lee, who has shown that when given the minutes (Isiah felt inclined to limit him to 25 per), can be an efficient producer around the rim . Quentin Richardson can be an effective 3, so long as the ball isn’t being dumped to him from the top of the key – Q was effective when Nash drove and dished, an art that Mark Jackson is partially responsible for perfecting (see Reggie Miller). Even Zack Randolph can assume a more important role, collapsing defenses and leaving none other than MARK JACKSON open for the occasional 3/re-dump in – Mark Jackson brings every element that the Knicks have so desperately been missing.

So if you’re reading this Donnie Walsh, you’re on the right track. But… should you acquire the services of Mr. Jackson, don’t forget he likes his shorts short.

Other Notes

Roger Clemens is a walking storyboard. Everytime his name comes up I get this urge to start penning a sitcom. Yesterday, Roger denied having a 10 year affair with a long time family friend and unfamed country singer. Today that country singer said Roger was lying – that they had an affair. Apparently Roger thinks he’s impervious to truth seekers. The Rocket – 8 PM on Tuesdays, UPN.

Scientific evidence suggests that its physically impossibly for a girl to not go to an 80’s party.

Set out runnin’ but I’ll take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.

Read this – this is the most insane story I’ve ever heard… If it weren’t for their delicious schnitzel I’d have lost all respect for Vienna - http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/29/austria.cellar/index.html

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