Phil Jackson is also for contraction, small-market man that he is

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Phil Jackson decided to back up his girlfriend, which is a smart thing to do as she’s also the daughter of his boss and, you know, his girlfriend. Even less surprising is that he’s backing up his girlfriend by burying small markets, in which he’s never had to achieve success.

“I think that’s what the commissioner said so I think she’s probably parroting what the commissioner said,” Jackson said.

When asked for his thoughts about contraction, Jackson said, “I will parrot what both of them said” before expanding on the thought.

“I think [the league has] some parameters that they want to meet in some of the markets,” Jackson said. “I think they’ll set up some goals that way and I think that will be a helpful thing for the league. Taking New Orleans for example, they had to meet a certain number of ticket holders for them to come in the league, so there are some parameters that are important.”

“You like to have six in the division and 24 is really a great number [of teams] at one time,” Jackson said. “You could play five in your division and four in your conference and you could really set up division rivalries with such a thing like that. The expansion to 30 which we have sets up an odd number of games that we have [against certain conference opponents].”

via Los Angeles Lakers’ Phil Jackson offers thoughts on NBA contraction – ESPN Los Angeles.

Jackson, who played for New York for ten years before going to New Jersey, then coached Chicago and Los Angeles, obviously is in tune with smaller markets and the struggle to compete in the NBA’s system which heavily favors the biggest markets in competitive advantage. He’s in touch with what losing these franchises would mean to good fans in hard-working American cities and the thousands of kids who would suffer through losing their favorite franchise. He’s also got a good perspective on the limited potential  of the league in abandoning an expansive set of teams which provides interest in more than just those areas.

With Phil Jackson, who coaches a team that has appeared in 32 of the last 63 Finals, giving great perspective on how competitive balance is well in tune in the NBA, that should be the final straw. After all, when the coach of a team that’s had to endure things like having to trade Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol thinks that the system could use some shortening to allow more star players on big market teams, you know we’re overloaded.

In other news, Mark Cuban supports an initiative for loudmouth owners to get luxury tax breaks, Mike D’Antoni supports a three-point starting handicap in favor of teams whose coaches have mustaches, and I support a tax break for people named Matt.

 

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.