Tag: Phil Jackson


Kristaps Porzingis and the power of patience


NEW YORK – As Adam Silver walked to the podium to announce the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, everyone in the media area who saw Adrian Wojnarowski’s tweet regarding the Knicks’ selection knew what was in store for Kristaps Porzingis when his name came out of the commissioner’s mouth.

On cue the Knicks faithful showered the 7’ 1” 19-year old from Latvia with a downpour of boos as he made his way up to shake Silver’s hand. It was quite the response for the franchise’s highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing in 1985 and it’s something that Porzingis is determined to erase during his time in New York.

“I have to do everything that’s in my hands to turn those booing fans into clapping fans,” Porzingis said after holding up his freshly printed number 15 Knicks jersey. It’s a task that’s not going to be easy, but the seven footer has the type of game that could quickly turn New York’s perception of him.

Porzingis possesses an offensive skill set that has the chance to be otherworldly. His silky smooth shooting stroke will be on display right out of the box. He can spot up from beyond the arc and pull up off of the dribble. He can post up and score inside thanks to his extremely long frame. It’s easy to fall in love with his potential as a big in the Triangle Offense.

Beyond his offensive abilities, Porzingis’ extremely long frame (his wingspan has been rumored to be anywhere between 7’ 3” and 7’ 6”) allows him to cover quite a bit of ground on defense. If a guard gets around him, he has the length to alter their shot at the rim. If he traps on a pick-and-roll, he has the agility to recover and get back in front of his man.

Besides the obvious question marks about coming over from Europe, Porzingis’ body has been knocked during the draft process (Someone who is reading this just thought to themselves, well Darko was soft!), but the discussion about his body type has been blown out of proportion. Yes his body is a bit awkward and does resemble a baby giraffe, but so many people have been shouting that he needs to put on weight. Newsflash, he’s going to put on weight. Every player who enters the league is put on a weight training program in order to maximize their body.

There is film of Porzingis being knocked around by guys in the paint who are four to five inches smaller than him,

but over the next couple of years his body will evolve as he transforms from a 19-year old kid into a man, which will give him the ability to handle contact under the basket.

There’s just so much to like about Porzingis, but it’s hard to sell his potential that to a fanbase who is desperate to see a quick turnaround even though there doesn’t appear to be one in sight. Carmelo Anthony is an aging superstar who is coming off of knee surgery and is in desperate need of a stable foundation around him because right now the Knicks’ roster beyond Melo looks like this:


Phil Jackson could pull off a couple of miracles in free agency due to the abundance of cap space New York has, but the Knicks haven’t been linked to any of the top free agents, unless you count pipe-dreams of Marc Gasol. The Knicks may have to go about this rebuilding process a different way, by developing their high draft picks into stars and that all begins with Porzingis.

“It’s crazy, you know for me, just playing in New York. Phil Jackson is a known hero,” Porzingis said. “First I’ll make sure I do my work, and he’ll make sure he puts me in a position where I can succeed.”

Now it’s Porzingis’ job to become the next known hero in New York.

Twitter – @ScottDargis

Frank Kaminsky wants you to know that his potential isn’t ‘tapped out’

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 04:  Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers reacts late in the game against the Kentucky Wildcats during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Compared to the rest of the guys who will be sitting in the green room at the 2015 NBA Draft, Frank Kaminsky is a 22-year-old senior citizen. He’s the lone guy out of the group who completed all four years of school, which is quite an accomplishment in the one-and-done age.

“People who go to college have to grow up and find their way. It’s not easy to make it for four years in college and maintain a level of success where you get better and better every year,” Kaminsky said during the pre-draft interviews. “I was able to do that. I was able to grow up as a person and grow up as a player.”

Indeed he did. Kaminsky got better and better each year throughout his time at Wisconsin, with the culmination coming in his senior year as he was named a consensus first team All-American, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and the Naismith National Player of the Year. And he led Wisconsin to the national championship game, to boot.

Kaminsky had the highest player efficiency rating in the entire country and had a higher usage rate than Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, yet his draft projection is all over the place. No one seems to know where the seven foot kid who loves to play FIFA is going to land, but we know it’s very likely that he’s not going to be taken inside the top eight.

You would think that a kid who took it to Towns and Okafor in the NCAA Tournament would be bothered by this notion, but Kaminsky doesn’t seem to care. “It doesn’t matter to me,” Kaminsky told NBCSports’ ProBasketballTalk when asked about what it feels like to have his current draft projections after accomplishing so much in college. “I know what I can do and I know what I’m capable of, so I’m just willing to go to any team and try to make the most of it.”

The one talking point that has bothered Kaminsky is the idea that he’s done evolving as a basketball player. When he was asked if there were any misconceptions about him heading into the draft, Kaminsky responded with a serious, almost annoyed tone, “That my potential is tapped out already. I seem to hear that a bunch of times. People talk about ‘I don’t know how high his ceiling is.’ You know it’s cool, you guys can write all what you want, I don’t really care because I know I’m the person who has control of all that. So I can continue to make myself better and continue to get better at basketball.”

But the question is where will Kaminsky continue to grow as a basketball player? Rumors surrounding the Bucks moving up in order to keep him in Wisconsin have floated around. He’s been linked to the Suns at 13. Most notably Phil Jackson has seemed enamored with the big guy’s ability to act as the center in the Triangle Offense, which means we could see the Knicks trade down from the fourth spot, if Towns, Okafor and Russell are gone, in order to grab Kaminsky along with some other assets.

If Kaminsky were to wind up in New York, he believes it would be a good landing spot. “I think it would be a good fit because they run the offense through some bigs and it’s a lot of screening action,” Kaminsky said. “You know I feel like I can fit into a lot of offenses, but the triangle gives you a bunch of reads that you’re able to make and that’s kind of the offense that we ran at Wisconsin.”

Kaminsky acting as one of the pillars in the triangle would be fascinating to watch as his mobility, patience in the post, and ability to handle the ball make him a nice fit for The Guru’s offense.

The one thing he wouldn’t be looking forward to if he wound up in New York? The congestion.

“I don’t like all of the traffic,” Kaminsky noted.

It’s something he might have to get used to.

Watch Derek Fisher be introduced as New York Knicks head coach (VIDEO)

Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher hit all the right notes in his introductory press conference as head coach — he talked about returning the Knicks to glory, he talked about changing the culture, and he did it all with an air of confidence.

He looked like a leader of men. You could see that in the clip above.

Fisher also addressed his lack of head coaching experience straight on:

“There will be a lot of talk about my inexperience as a head coach, and that is obviously factually true,” Fisher said. “I have never been a head coach in the NBA or in college or in high school — but I am experienced. Basketball is a game that I am experienced in. Playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping another group achieve the greatest gift in the world as a professional athlete and that is being a champion. That I have experience in. And that’s the experience I plan on sharing with these players, sharing with this organization.”

We’ll see if he can do the job, but he nailed the presser.


Derek Fisher preaches culture change, says when introduced he has experience to turn Knicks around

Derek Fisher

It’s not going to take just a couple of little tweaks to make the New York Knicks contenders again. The roster needs a lot of work, the organizational culture needs to change.

Phil Jackson has hired Derek Fisher to be his coach and help usher in that change, something that was made and Fisher’s introductory press conference at Madison Square Garden Tuesday. Fisher reportedly got a five-year, $25 million deal.

But is Fisher — a guy with no head coaching experience, who was still playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder a couple weeks ago — the right guy to help spearhead that change with Jackson? Fisher is confident he is. Very confident.

“There will be a lot of talk about my inexperience as a head coach, and that is obviously factually true,” Fisher said. “I have never been a head coach in the NBA or in college or in high school — but I am experienced. Basketball is a game that I am experienced in. Playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping another group achieve the greatest gift in the world as a professional athlete and that is being a champion. That I have experience in. And that’s the experience I plan on sharing with these players, sharing with this organization.”

It’s something the Knicks have not experienced for more than 40 years as an organization. That is why Jackson was brought in by owner James Dolan at the hefty price tag of $12 million a year, it’s why Jackson was given real power.

Jackson has talked about changing the culture at Madison Square Garden and Fisher echoed that sentiment. He said the bar needs to be set at a championship level.

“That is who we will become, that is who we are,” Fisher said. “It is here, it exists here, Phil experienced it as a player almost 40 years ago… and we know without a doubt we know what that is, what it means how to create that, how to live in that on a daily basis. I’m excited about this.”

Jackson said he had a feeling Fisher wanted to go this way based on conversations previous summers, and once hey started talking things progressed quickly.

Jackson mentioned Fisher a couple weeks ago at a press conference as a “person of interest” but Fisher was still playing for the Thunder at that time. That tampering earned Phil Jackson a $25,000 fine — and if you don’t think Jackson knew the fine was coming when he said it but he was willing to pay the price to get the message sent, you haven’t watched Jackson over the years. He is careful about what he says publicly, these kinds of things accidentally.

Jackson tried to dispel the idea Fisher would simply be a proxy coach for him, saying that a younger coach who could relate to the players was needed. The players don’t exactly listen to the Grateful Dead like in his day, Jackson noted.

“Obviously Derek’s in a bit of a learning process, but we think his experience the last three or four years has been one of more assistant coach/player role and he’s learned under some of the best coaches: Don Nelson, Jerry Sloan, and the latest in Scotty Brooks,” Jackson said, leaving himself and his 11 rings off that list.

Fisher said yes, you can expect to see the triangle in New York.

“I love the triangle system,” Fisher said. “I believe with the roster we have we can utilize it to be more efficient, more effective, to give ourselves a chance to play better defense by getting higher percentage shots, so I believe in the system.”

Carmelo Anthony would fit well in the triangle system, getting the ball at the elbow or spacing the floor on the wings at times. He’s the kind of elite scorer the offense needs (providing he is willing to move the ball in it).

Anthony can and is expected to opt out and become a free agent this summer, he can choose to re-sign with the Knicks or not. Jackson and GM Steve Mills are going to meet with Anthony in the coming days, according to Jackson. Even if ‘Melo does opt out he could re-sign with the Knicks. But mostly Fisher and Jackson dodged the question about the future with Anthony.

Fisher said he did have very informal contact with the Lakers but never seemed to be seriously considered, which is why he was surprised the Lakers released a statement saying they were not going to pursue him. But that flirtation was never serious, the Lakers are focused on getting an experienced coach.

Jackson hired Fisher and went another direction, but Fisher thinks he has the experience for this job. Fisher was never the best athlete, the tallest, the fastest guy on the court but he played 18 NBA seasons in part because of a high basketball IQ.

“(His past basketball experiences) all provide an experience for me that I look forward to sharing with our players, and helping us re-establish the championship culture that exists in the DNA of this organization and this city,” Fisher said

Report: Phil Jackson spoke with Derek Fisher about Knicks coaching job Wednesday

Phil Jackson Derek Fisher

The answer is “Wednesday.”

We knew that Phil Jackson was going to talk to Derek Fisher about joining him in New York, about becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks, about helping turn the culture of that franchise around. The only question was when.

That conversation started last Wednesday and will continue next week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and his top coaching candidate, Derek Fisher, talked briefly on the telephone Wednesday and plan to reconvene next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jackson expressed his desire to engage Fisher in talks to become the Knicks coach, sources said. Fisher is expected to take the weekend to talk with his family and make a final decision about retiring from his 17-year NBA career in order to fully pursue coaching, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The ball is really in Fisher’s court here, Jackson is not flush with other options he loves. Jackson wants one of his guys, someone he has worked with and trusts, and there are just a handful of those guys. Brian Shaw already has a gig and Steve Kerr chose Stephen Curry and the West Coast over Jackson (Kerr also chose $25 million).

Fisher has to decide if this is what he wants to do. At his exit interview after the Thunder were eliminated he sounded like a guy ready to move on, ready to take on a new challenge, but it’s not a decision he can or should make lightly.

Jackson was fined $25,000 for tampering by the league for mentioning Fisher while the Thunder were still playing. There were some “he’s got a lot to learn as a GM” comments coming out of New York after that — if you think Jackson says things on accident or not knowing the consequences, you haven’t followed the man’s career. He is calculated. He’s been fined before, he know the rules and he knows what tampering is. He also couldn’t reach out to Fisher yet but may have wanted to plant a seed, send a little message. Jackson may not always get what he wants (Kerr) or have things turn out as planned, but you can bet they are calculated moves before he makes them.