|Phil Jackson’s biggest administrative mistake with Knicks? Not taking Jae Crowder||08.28.16 at 6:17 pm ET|
Phil Jackson has made a lot of mistakes as president of the Knicks, with a list going on and on from botched trades to swing-and-miss free agent signings and draft picks to regretful decisions in choosing coaches.
This has all lead the Knicks to an abysmal 49 combined wins over the two full seasons he’s been in charge.
That said, there is certainly a lot of regrets he could choose from — and his biggest gaffe involves one of today’s most prominent members of the Celtics.
Speaking to Today’s Fastbreak’s Charley Rosen, Jackson discussed when he could’ve had Jae Crowder, but instead took a chance with a draft pick instead.
“I don’t consider hiring [then-head coach Derek Fisher] a mistake because he worked hard and got the guys to stay as positive as possible while the losses piled up,” Jackson said. “I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.
The 70-year-old added: “Anyway, for all of us, making mistakes are part of the learning process.”
The Knicks president does bring up a valuable point, however, that Crowder would have been in a tough spot to find playing time behind Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony. However from a production standpoint, Crowder would have been more valuable coming off the bench behind Anthony than Early has ever been in his NBA career.
After Jackson passed on Crowder, the small forward made his way to Boston via the Rajon Rondo trade that the troubled point guard to the Mavs during the 2014-15 season. Crowder finagled his way into the Celtics starting lineup during the 2015-16 season, starting every game he appeared in, and he’ll likely do the same this season.
To put it in perspective, Jackson ended up with someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the D-League and even played in the summer league this summer. He was also sidelined for most of the second half of 2016 after being shot in the knee outside of a strip club.
In that timeframe, Crowder became a quasi-star in Boston, playing in 73 games alone in 2015-16 (to Early’s 56 career NBA games) and averaged 14.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over 31.6 minutes per game.
|Phil Jackson says he’d take Bill Russell over Michael Jordan||05.24.13 at 10:35 am ET|
Legendary coach Phil Jackson, on an interview tour to promote his new book, gave a surprising answer when asked which player in NBA history he would choose to start a franchise.
“In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell,” Jackson told Time magazine. “He has won 11 championships as a player. That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.”
Jackson coached Michael Jordan‘s Bulls to six championships and Kobe Bryant‘s Lakers to five more. In his book, “Eleven Rings,” Jackson compares the two, noting that Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender. Asked which one he’d prefer to have on his team, Jackson played it down the middle.
“I would flip a coin,” he said. “Whichever one came up heads or tails, I’d take that person. They were that good.”
|Mike Gorman on M&M: ‘I think Miami is emotionally spent’||05.09.11 at 1:28 pm ET|
Longtime Celtics television broadcaster Mike Gorman joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to discuss the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Heat. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I thought it was physical playoff basketball with a bad result,” Gorman said. “What happened to Rondo didn’t have anything to do necessarily with the way Wade hit him. It was just trying to brace his fall that he got his arm out there. It wasn’t like his arm was twisted willfully by an opposing player.”
Gorman said he was surprised by the Heat’s failure to be aggressive with Rondo after the injury.
“Maybe they were just so stunned he was on the floor,” Gorman said. “They seem hypnotized by the fact that he was playing them with one hand tied behind his back. ‘¦ Not only they didn’t pressure the ball, they didn’t even force him to go left. It was like they were deferential to him. I don’t think that’s going to be the case tonight.”
Gorman said the Heat’s struggles Saturday and forward Chris Bosh acknowledging the Boston crowd affected his play might be a sign that the long season is wearing on them.
“I think Miami is emotionally spent,” Gorman said. “I think they’ve had the headlights, the spotlights, whatever you want to call it, right in their eyes right since training camp opened 6-7 months ago. And every single city they were in, they were getting booed, they were getting questioned. I think Bosh saying he was intimidated was more a sign of a guy saying that he was emotionally exhausted.
“I couldn’t believe on Saturday night, having the Celtics down 2-0 that [LeBron] James and Wade didn’t come out and just be assassins. Wade was an assassin, but James was tentative. I don’t know how else to describe it. For a guy with all the talent that he has, in a game like that to be tentative really is kind of amazing. So, I wonder about the psyche of this team.
“I also wonder ‘ I think it’s 10 or 11 in a row now they’ve lost in Boston. They may be starting to think they can’t win here.”
|Jackie MacMullan on D&H: Celtics’ problems at center critical||02.11.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
Basketball Hall of Fame writer Jackie MacMullan joined the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the Celtics and news from around the NBA. While Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half to spark a Lakers comeback Thursday night, MacMullan attributed most of the blame for the Celtics’ loss on their sudden lack of depth at center. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
“That was the game in a nutshell,” she said. “Their bigs just played really, really well, crushed them on the boards, made things happen in the paint. We know Kobe can turn it on, as he did in the second half. And we all knew when he had three points at halftime that it wouldn’t end that way. But to me, it really was about what went on in the paint last night.”
Ray Allen broke the NBA record for career 3-pointers Thursday night. MacMullan noted that despite the lofty praise, Allen has not always been the most coachable player. Said MacMullan: “It was just so funny to me how, as he was approaching the record, everyone was saying, ‘Oh, Ray Allen, a coach’s dream, the greatest veteran, what a model, an ambassador for the NBA.’ And I was thinking, ‘Whoa.’ I can remember a lot of coaches that really struggled with Ray, including the one here.
“And that doesn’t mean they don’t love him ‘ and certainly Doc [Rivers] and Ray have found their way together ‘ but that’s not who Ray is. Ray’s going to challenge you and Ray’s going to question you. Because he wants things to work within his own parameters. And to me, that was the most interesting part about this quest for the 3-point title, was he did it through multiple coaches, each of whom at one point or another I’m sure were saying, ‘This guy drives me nuts!’ ”
Addressing the rumors of a trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers, MacMullan noted that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been looking to trim payroll, not add to it. Plus, the Lakers already have a title-contending team without adding a player with defensive liabilities who would take some time to learn the triangle offense. “It just didn’t make sense to me,” she said. “Not if you’re the Lakers and you’re right there.”
MacMullan, who had lunch Thursday with Lakers coach Phil Jackson, said she believes Jackson will stick to his word and retire at the end of the season. “The impression I get is that Phil is at the end of the road,” she said. “He didn’t say that, he won’t say anything about it. But that’s the impression I get. I think he’s come to the point where it’s time to step away again.”
MacMullan was talking to Jackson for a book she’s writing about Shaquille O’Neal. “He gave me some great insight on Shaquille, who he has a great affection for to this day, really loved being with him,” she said. “And you know, when it was Phil, Kobe and Shaq, nine times out of 10, Phil was siding with Shaq, not Kobe.”
|Irish Coffee: Phil Jackson, Eduardo Najera diss Kevin Garnett||02.08.11 at 11:45 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In addition to Spike Lee‘s hypocritical comments that Garnett “needs to calm the f#%$ down” — which we detailed at length Monday afternoon — the names Phil Jackson, Gerald Henderson and Eduardo Najera can be scratched from the Kevin Garnett Fan Club.
“Pau knows who he is. He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.
“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the balls. He’s too nice of a guy.”
Prior to Monday night’s 94-89 loss to the Bobcats, Celtics coach Doc Rivers defended Garnett against Lee, Jackson and the growing list of critics who suggest Garnett’s intensity has crossed the line from healthy to dirty play (the low blow to Frye, in particular):
|Doc Rivers: ‘I’ll let everyone else talk about us’||01.19.11 at 7:21 pm ET|
Two different comments about the Celtics have made the rounds today. One complimentary, and the other not so much. Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith questioned the Celtics tough reputation by telling the Orlando Sentinel, “They act tough. They’re not really tough. They act tough.”
Asked about it before the Celtics game with the Pistons, Ray Allen responded, “It doesn’t matter. We know who we are.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers wouldn’t even go that far. “I’ll let everybody else talk about us,” he said. “They seem to do it better than us.”
Told that Lakers coach Phil Jackson had suggested that Heat couldn’t beat the Celtics, Rivers joked, “In that case I think Phil is a genius! And I hope he’s right. There’s a lot of playing to be played. We’ll see how that all works out.”
|Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson kind of agree about playing on Christmas||12.22.10 at 11:24 am ET|
When you’re the coach of the Celtics or Lakers, it’s basically a given than you will be spending your Christmas Day at work. Both teams are staples of the NBA’s annual Christmas Day extravaganza. This year, the C’s play in Orlando, which is at least home for a few players, and notably coach Doc Rivers. The Lakers host the Heat, which was a given the moment Miami signed LeBron James.
In truth, no one likes playing on Christmas, but the Celtics all said Tuesday that it was a privilege and something they expect from playing on one of the league’s best teams. Lakers coach Phil Jackson expressed a different view:
“It used to be Phoenix and L.A. and New York and Boston and New York or Philly or somebody on the East Coast,” Jackson, told reporters before the Lakers game against the Bucks. “Now, I see they have like six games on Christmas. It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to them anymore. You just go out and play and entertain [on] TV. It’s really weird.”
While Rivers didn’t bring up the religious aspect, he did note that the day used to be more special when it involved just two games. The league now has five games running all day with the Celtics and Lakers matchups in the marquee time slots.
“I wish they would reduce the games on Christmas,” Rivers said Tuesday. “I thought it was more special when it was two games. Now they it’s up five games. I think that’s too many.”
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