Phil Jackson’s bizarre press conference last Friday revealed two things: He for sure wants Carmelo Anthony off the roster, and he’d rather be coaching than posted up in the front office. Jackson’s insistence Anthony would be “better off somewhere else” and his continued meddling with coaching strategies left Knicks fans as confused as ever over the future of the maligned franchise. If Jackson’s body could withstand the rigors of an 82-game schedule, he’d probably be on the bench where he could actually do some good, rather than sitting perched in the Madison Square Garden seats plotting the next roster move or scouting potential draft picks. Jackson’s legacy once seemed impeccable, winning 11 titles with the Bulls and Lakers, but his tenure as Knicks team president has been lackluster to put it kindly. Jackson was hired because of his coaching pedigree, which spoke for itself, but upon further reflection, his success seems pretty singular since unlike other legendary coaches his disciples have rarely enjoyed success on their own. Gregg Popovich, who will one day be in the Hall of Fame, has had several of his assistant coaches plundered by other teams, with the thinking that Popovich’s coaching style and demeanor would naturally rub off on them. And while Jackson was known for his skill in dealing with others, it seems like his effect has not lingered on the league as some would say Popovich’s has. Jackson cannot point to any successful head coaches that he helped back in his coaching days. So looking more closely at Jackson’s coaching legacy, can you call it much of a tree? Maybe a sad shrub? While known as the “Zen Master” for his cool, calm demeanor and his ability to reign in seemingly all types of players (Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Sasha Vujacic), Jackson’s legacy does not include producing other great head coaches. There are a few reasons to explain this big discrepancy. First, Phil had a trusted right-hand man for most of his career: Tex Winter. The father of the triangle offense, Winter was the one who converted Jackson to believe in the system. Winter was Jackson’s assistant in both Chicago and Los Angeles, and obviously Jackson was not going to allow him to be hired away.
Phil Jackson's Coaching Tree Is More Like a Sad Shrub
Complex | Apr 20