Sunday, March 16, 2014

Corey Rockafeler NBA RAW: The legendary sublime iconoclast, Phil Jackson versus the L.W.O. Jim Dolan

Now what? After a decade and a half  dance with futility that would make Sisyphus wince, a ray of light has emerged. The newest merchant of  hope is the iconoclastic master of the sublime, adorned with enough championship hardware even  the most pessimistic Knick fans are rejoicing. Phil Jackson, a former New York Knick player, and the winningest NBA coach in history, could not have scripted this one any better. The 68 year old NBA oracle is set to sign a five year $ 60 million deal to become president of the New York Knicks. Jackson has won two rings as a Knick player( ironically  their only two championships) and a record 11 rings as coach of the Chicago Bulls and  Los Angeles Lakers. He will split time between New York and Los Angeles. That is the easy part. The hard part is insuring he has full autonomy over all basketball decisions and can purge the stench left by the Dolan virus. Jim Dolan, New York Knick owner, has long cemented his record  as L.W.O( leagues worst owner).  As president, Jackson will confront  deep and structural problems within the Knick organization . Jackson will have to counter the institutional dysfunction and ineptitude created by the clueless owner Jim Dolan. It's not just eight coaches since 2001, six GM's, two complete winning seasons, and only one playoff series victory, it  is the fatally flawed  Dolan philosophy and culture. Dolan has run the Knicks like a small time family business. From his paranoid management style, to the gulag type cold war media policy, Dolan  is the antithesis of smart management.  The stark contrasts between the sublime iconoclast Jackson, with the linear parochial incompetence of  Dolan seems to be a match made in the place that is really, really hot. But Dolan, who has defied the adage  even a broken clocks is right twice a day, may not have much of choice but to cede full control to Jackson. There is no basketball owner as reviled  as Jim Dolan is with Knick fans. Championship-famished fans are so livid at Dolan's chronic meddling and pathological incompetence they are staging a protest March 19 in front of the Garden.

Conversely, Jackson's appointment could not have come at a better time. Although, the Knicks are riding a six game winning streak, they have been a bust this season. Despite the leagues second highest payroll, they are close to failing to make the playoffs, but as only Jim Dolan can do,they will also have no draft picks. Those were lost in the trade for bust Andrea Bargnani( a number one pick in 2014 and two second round picks).

Jackson is also faced with rebuilding a roster he previously called clumsy. At the time, Jackson said: " Stoudemire does not fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire's a really good player, but he has to play in a certain system and a certain way.Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands." Not only is that sentiment true , but is is reflective in the Knicks record with Melo and Stat . When they are on the court together, the have a defensive rating of over 112 and a offensive rating of only 102.

Moreover, the Zen master, Jackson favors control and his sui generis is the triangle offense. This is the inverse of the inert, unimaginative, and predictable iso-ball authored by current Knick coach Mike Woodson. The triangle offense is a free-flowing style of play driven by picks, cuts, spacing, ball and player movement. It is not a point guard driven system, and allows all five players to assume multiple positions on the court and keeps defenses  off balances because they can not key on just one player. In essence, it is the opposite  of Melo ball. The Knicks under Jackson will also face the decision of whether free agent o be Melo  is the kind of player Jackson will want to pay $ 22 million a year to at age 30. Then factor the salary asphyxiating contracts of Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Bargnani. 2015 seems to be the focal point instead of next season. That is  due to the cap room coming from  the expiring contracts of Chandler, Stoudemire, and Bargnani.

At least Knock fans can dream again. Hopefully the Dolan nightmares are a thing of the past. But someone when it comes to wrong way Dolan, his virus is seldom benign.

Good night Red Holzman!  May your force be with us.

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