Phil Jackson again says Carmelo Anthony can thrive in triangle offense, but “the ball can’t stop”


In his infamous conference call that ended up with Hawks GM Danny Ferry repeating some bigoted things that now has his job in jeopardy, he also talked about Carmelo Anthony. And pretty much hit the nail on the head.

“He can shoot the s—— out of it, but he screws you up in other ways. So is he really worth the $20 million? I would argue if he plays the right way, absolutely.”

Ferry’s comments are pretty much the norm on Anthony, and that includes talking about him in the Knicks new triangle offense.

Phil Jackson echoed the same ideas about ‘Melo in the triangle as part of a long Q&A with the New York Post.

Q: How and why will the triangle offense make Carmelo a better player?

A: It’ll give him opportunity to be a passer, a rebounder, and probably easier spots to score from than he’s had before. I think. I hope that’s true for a lot of the players….

And that’s where Carmelo’s gonna move forward this year in that situation — the ball can’t stop. The ball has to continually move. It moves, or goes to the hoop on a shot or a drive or something like that. In our offense, that’s part of the process of getting players to play in that rhythm.

When put in settings like the Olympic teams (he’s played in three, has two golds) Anthony has played within that kind of role and moved the ball. He trusted his teammates — but it’s easy to trust Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and players of that level. Can he trust Jose Calderon and J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire the same way?

The Knicks roster is a work in progress and a lot of triangle-friendly players need to be added. But ‘Melo is the key — he has to buy in, he has to play the right way, he has to be the change he wants to see. If ‘Melo says “screw this, I’m just taking over the game” he’s back to the situation that had him thinking about getting out of town this summer.

It drove Mike D’Antoni crazy how the ball movement stopped with ‘Melo touched the rock. We’ll see is Jackson and Derek Fisher can get through to him in a different way.

Phil Jackson: Kobe Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan’s attitude toward training


Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have invited comparisons between each other – Kobe by purposefully modeling his style after Jordan and Jordan by expressing his respect for that.

Not that anyone needs an invitation.

Arguably the two greatest shooting guards of all time, Jordan and Kobe are ripe for comparison. Each has impeccable credentials – individual and team – and legions of fans in his corner. Jordan is clearly better, but people want to talk about it.

One of those people: Phil Jackson, who coached both. He’s never shied from discussing the issue.

Usually, Jackson favors Jordan. Jackson said Jordan would beat Kobe in one-one-one and praised how Jordan – relative to Kobe – interacted with teammates.

But there’s one area Jackson, now the Knicks president, gives Kobe the edge.

Jackson, in a Q&A with Steve Serby of the New York Post:

Q: Is Kobe Bryant the model for Carmelo Anthony?

A: No. No one can approach that. I don’t expect anybody to be able to model their behavior after that, although Kobe modeled his behavior a lot about Michael Jordan, but he went beyond Michael in his attitude towards training, and I know Mike would probably question me saying that, but he did.

Jordan, using every slight (real and imagined) as motivation, willed himself to greatness. It was no coincidence he became the best player of all time. His athleticism and talent were elite, but his determination and focus put him over the edge.

So how else was Kobe supposed to compete?

The only way was to adopt Jordan’s approach and push it to the extreme. And that’s just what Kobe did.

He has an incredible work ethic. He pushes himself beyond what seems reasonable.

Jordan didn’t have a target as lofty as Jordan to strive toward. Kobe did, and that’s why his attitude toward training surpassed Jordan’s.

Melo can use either Jordan’s or Kobe’s greatness as a goal to push himself, but nah. He doesn’t have a chance.

James Dolan enlists Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire to break world kazoo record


And you wonder why Phil Jackson is worth $12 million a year to the Knicks organization.

You can certainly make the case that what Knicks owner James Dolan did Thursday night at Madison Square Garden was all in good fun and for a good cause — after his band (JD and the Straight Shot) opened for the Eagles he enlisted the help of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, John McEnroe and 6,000 other people to set a record for most kazoos played in one place simultaneously.

With that he donated $100,000 to ALS research.

So to be clear, after his band opened a show because he is rich and owns the building, he got a bunch of people together to try to upstage the Ice Bucket Challenge thing and put his own spin on it. Then he gets to paint himself as the good guy with a charitable donation.

That’s all fine, but a year ago this was the same guy making basketball decisions for the Knicks. Jackson is there to keep Dolan out of the basketball loop — so far, so good — and to give the ship direction.

And you wonder why Phil Jackson is worth $12 million a year to the Knicks organization.

Not every NBA player following Carmelo Anthony’s Hawks plan


Carmelo Anthony speaks for himself, though he tried to speak for everyone on the Hawks scandal:

“[There] ain’t nobody [who] would want to go there,” Anthony said at the Citi Carmelo Anthony Basketball ProCamp at Baruch College Saturday morning. “At the end of the day, Atlanta … I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint.” …

“As a player, as an athlete, we’re looking for a job, we’re trying to find a place where we can move our family, we can make our family comfortable, where we can be comfortable in a comfortable environment, but those comments right there, we would never look at. I’m speaking on behalf of all athletes. We would never look at a situation like that, I don’t care what it is.”

“It’s going to take a collective effort,” Anthony said. That’s not going to change overnight. I don’t think that just happened overnight. That’s been an accumulation over the past couple years. A lot of people think that it just happened, but it’s been going on for the past two or three years now … these are conversations that have been ongoing.”

Unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

Conversations with a cross section of black NBA players via text, email and phone revealed a wide and varied reaction to Ferry’s assessment of Deng, who is from South Sudan, and the email by Levenson—to Ferry—about his concerns that the team’s abundance of African-American fans were discouraging white fans from attending games.

One veteran power forward in the Western Conference said he still would play for Ferry and the Hawks. "The reason I say that is because I know Danny and that’s the only reason," he said. "Who knows the whole story? For me, I’ve dealt with him, so I don’t think he’s a racist. At the same time, if things were equal—playing situation, money and everything else—I might choose someplace else."

A small forward signed through this season said that while he doesn’t like the idea of playing for someone who would feel comfortable sharing a report of that kind, he also admitted to being pragmatic.

"I wouldn’t go there unless they were offering $40 million and the next best offer was $30 million," he said. "I’m not going to let someone mess with my money." He added, though, that he still wouldn’t shake Ferry’s hand.

NBA players do not share a single mind.

Playing time, coaching, roster makeup, off-court environment, family and, of course, money, all factor into where free agents sign. Everyone assesses and values those factors, and others, differently.

Just because Melo won’t sign with the Hawks doesn’t mean they’ll no longer get players. There are only 450 NBA playing jobs available at a time, and not all of those get filled. Competing with a huge talent pool and facing a scarcity of openings, many players would sign with Atlanta if given the opportunity

That said, this scandal will be a negative for almost anyone. The other factors – primarily money – will have to be right for the Hawks to land players, because right now, Atlanta’s organization is a mess.

It will pass, though.

The Hawks are trying to make amends. Soon, they’ll have a new owner. Danny Ferry is already out indefinitely, and I’d guess he won’t return.

Atlanta has already signed Elton Brand since this scandal broke.

Maybe Melo will hold a grudge. He’s good enough to pick his team, even when he’s under contract with another. But other players, without that security, will forgive more easily.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: New York Knicks


Last season: The Knicks finished just a game out of the playoffs, but their final place in the standings is more than a little bit deceiving. New York had a largely dismal campaign that saw the team underachieve, especially when expectations were so high following a 54-win season and a trip to the second round of the playoffs. Injuries to multiple big men, a regression from J.R. Smith and consistently poor play from the point guard position left Carmelo Anthony trying to do it all by himself most nights, and the overall performance of the team was poor enough to see significant changes made this summer.

Signature highlight from last season: Carmelo Anthony is one of the game’s elite scorers, and he put on a stellar shooting display on Jan. 25 against the Bobcats which resulted in him scoring 62 points on 23-of-35 shooting. The Knicks were just 15-27 at the time and entered the game having lost five straight, and with this being a Friday night in Manhattan, it’s worth wondering how many season ticket holders made other plans, and missed seeing this incredible performance in person.

Key player changes: Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton were traded to Dallas in exchange for Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert, and New York also added Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy via trade with the Kings.

Keys to the Knicks season:

The Triangle Offense: Phil Jackson was hired as president of basketball operations this summer, and while his health will prevent him from returning to a head coaching role on a full-time basis, he’ll be doing so by proxy as much as possible. Derek Fisher was hired as head coach, and Kurt Rambis was installed as his lead assistant — both of whom have extensive experience with the Triangle Offense that helped Jackson’s teams win all those titles. It can take time to teach, however, especially to a group of players that are completely uninitiated. New York’s offense wasn’t terrible last season (it ranked 11th in efficiency), but the Triangle is more of an equal opportunity system than whatever it was the Knicks were running under Mike Woodson. If run properly, it will not only help Anthony get the ball in a variety of positions to score, but it will do the same for his teammates, theoretically lightening his load in the process.

Fit of the new pieces: Trading away Tyson Chandler means there is a large hole in the Knicks frontcourt defense that needs to be filled, which is pretty important considering that the team ranked just 26th on that end of the floor last season. Samuel Dalembert can be a capable defender when engaged, but beyond that you’re looking at Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire, neither of whom have a reputation of being impactful defenders. While that area remains a question mark, New York massively upgraded at the point guard position with the acquisition of Jose Calderon — not only a solid floor general, but also someone who consistently ranks among the league leaders in three-point shooting percentage.

More moves on the way? The Knicks were stuck this summer without the ability to go after additional talent via free agency, mainly because of two problematic contracts that have the team over the salary cap. Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are both in the final year of their respective deals, and combined they count for almost $35 million in salary for next season. New York is certainly eying next summer, when they’ll both come off the books in time for the team to try to be active in what’s expected to be a deep free agent market. But since the two aren’t in the long-term plans, Phil Jackson may try to move one or both to add some youth, or some talent more readily available to help the team win in the immediate future. It would likely require the Knicks giving up an asset of their own to entice someone to take on these unsavory contracts, but it isn’t out of the question, depending on who Jackson believes could be had in a trade that would fit his vision of the future.

Why you should watch: Carmelo Anthony is one of the game’s best scorers, and is one of the rare players in the league who occasionally goes through extended stretches where he seemingly can’t be stopped.

Prediction: With all of the changes, from the front office to the coaching staff to some key rotation players on the roster, it’s difficult to see this Knicks team getting off to a fast start. The Triangle Offense is complicated, and installing new offensive and defensive schemes at the same time can be a lot for players to grasp. A return to the playoffs isn’t necessarily likely, but there are only five or six teams in the East that you can pencil in as an almost certainty. New York has a chance to compete for one of the remaining spots, and in a season where championship aspirations are admittedly out of the picture, that’s really all you can ask for.