Steve Kerr. Derek Fisher. Luke Walton. Mark Madsen.
Such names aren’t likely to headline just any NBA team’s head coaching search, but as fate would have it, such guys have all emerged as candidates for the Knicks.
And though Kerr has since come to an agreement with the Golden State Warriors, the rest still remain. But with other veteran (and previously successful) coaches like Lionel Hollins and Byron Scott among those currently available, why does it appear that President Phil Jackson still desires to venture down a much more raw and inexperienced road for a potential coach of the Knickerbockers?
Perhaps because in this particular case, experience isn’t exactly a favored trait.
Instead of hiring a veteran coach who is already comfortable with his own respective ideals, beliefs, philosophies, or even an individual system, Jackson prefers someone he can mold, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Bringing a new and fresh face to the coaching ranks allows Jackson the most influence, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A first-year coach would be someone who he could teach the triangle to. In time, the thirteen-time NBA champion could make such a novice believe in the system as much as he himself does, and then let such influence trickle down to the players from there.
What’s more, for all those who say it’s vital that Jackson himself coach the team, perhaps he can somehow find a happy medium. A first-year coach is more likely to welcome and embrace Jackson into training camp and practices, so that he can also mentor some of the players on the hardwood as well. A first-year coach is arguably more likely to see the value in having Jackson involved, rather than potentially be threatened by his presence or feel as though Jackson is attempting to step on his toes.
Jackson is adamant on not coaching, largely in part due to the fact that he’s not physically able to handle the burden of traveling any longer. Perhaps he’d have more freedom to step in and provide input and leadership in his own way, while at camp, practice, etc.
If such an idea is part of the plan, then perhaps bringing in a first year head coach works out for everyone, simply because the players will reap the benefits by getting the best of both worlds.