Phil Jackson: Carmelo Anthony “has just touched the surface of the greatness he is capable of”

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Phil Jackson has put a lot of faith in Carmelo Anthony as he prepares to take on the New York Knicks’ resuscitation project. The team’s newly minted President of Basketball Operations signed Anthony to a five-year, $122 million contract this summer and spoke to reporters on Sunday at the New Yorker Festival. The Zen Master addressed a wide range of topics, from the triangle offense to Donald Sterling to the Knicks’ media-relations policy.

Here’s what he had to say about his franchise centerpiece:

At 30 years old, Anthony is right in the middle of his prime, meaning he’s likely done developing. But Jackson believes that any player can be made better in the triangle offense his protege, Derek Fisher, is implementing in his first year as Knicks head coach.

In typical Jackson fashion, a comment that on the surface appears to be praising Anthony is actually praising himself. Anthony has been in the NBA for 11 years, led the league in scoring and been one of the biggest stars in the world, but he’s going to have his best year yet because now he’s got Phil Jackson and the triangle offense. It’s a classic Zen Master move that both gives confidence to his players and builds up his own mystique and reputation.

In other triangle notes, Jackson said point guard Jose Calderon, who came over from Dallas in a June trade, has picked up the offense better than anybody else on the roster and will be the starting point guard.

Jackson also told reporters that he will not give books to the Knicks players, as he often did with his Bulls and Lakers teams, leaving that up to Fisher to do.