Soooooo this pretty much sums up the sentiment of some fans, media and talking heads on Phil Jackson and the triangle, ” We want to hire you, because you’ve won eleven championships…..but we don’t think you’re the reason you won those championships and we don’t care how you think you won those championships…..but we’re gonna hire you because we think you can win championships the way we want you to win championships, which is doing what everyone else does and how everyone else did it when you beat them……. while you were doing it the way you wanted to do it….makes sense? NO….no, it does not. Does reading that make your head hurt? Good, welcome to the misery I feel every time I turn on sports radio in NY.
Phil Jackson has coaching credentials second to no coach in the history of the NBA, but that’s not enough. Some have been lukewarm on his accomplishments because he has always had “great players”. Jordan, Bryant, Shaq, Scottie and Gasol. Ever heard of Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Thomas, Dumars, Hakeem, Duncan, Robinson, Dirk, Wade, Lebron, Bird, Dr. J, McHale and Curry? Not household names, I know. They just happen to be the other “great players” who’ve won championships since oil crises and Reaganomics. Larry Brown and the Detroit Pistons are the only team to win without a clear cut Hall of Famer. The “great players” argument is tired, uninformed and without perspective and insight, but it’s the first thing you hear during a Phil Jackson shade session.
Let’s go about this a different way. How many championships do his players have without him? …………..All of one. This unbelievable accomplishment came by the way of Shaq, Wade and the legendary Pat Riley who became a legend by never having coached great players…….oh wait. Jordan played SEVEN years before winning, Shaq was busy catching loss after loss in the post season, Kobe was shooting airballs in playoff losses….Phil leaves the Lakers, they stink, he comes back….three straight finals, two rings. He’s soooo fortunate to have these great players, what would they do without him? In 1994, Jordan was retired and the ‘best player of all time’-less Bulls subsequently just missed the NBA finals. Phil is clearly talentless.
A far more legitimate criticism is that Phil is a novice as an executive and the Knicks should have hired someone more qualified for the position and/or we shouldn’t have faith in Phil, as a result. Fair. Unnnnnless you look around the league for NBA executives who brought championships to their roles. Keyword is, “brought”, not won once they got there but …brought. Most, if not all NBA executives are relatively nameless to the public, hardworking NBA grunts with no documented NBA accomplishments. However, they are hired because someone believed in their basketball acumen. Likely because of prior relationships, who they worked with or an impressive interview. One thing we do know they are not bringing is ….. 11 championships.
When Steve Kerr was hired as the Phoenix Suns GM, I remember thinking, “Huh?!, who hires color commentators to run their franchise? Whose nudes does he have?”. Kerr went on to have incredible success doing absolutely nothing but getting in Mike D’Antoni’s way and eventually vacated the position, only to eventually have several teams clamoring for him as a coach because of his 11 champio ……..uhhh wait…did I add wrong?
You hire someone to run your organization because you believe in their overall basketball knowledge and abilities to build a champion. There is no one available who you can document as having such knowledge to the same degree as Phil Jackson…No. One. Not a single soul. Jerry West isn’t coming here and Jerry West didn’t build Rome in a day in LA, but don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. If Phil Jackson believes in this offense, his process, then there isn’t a person alive who can definitely prove that he’s wrong.
The Triangle offense is not the only reason he won those rings, he’s not the only reason he won those rings, but they were clearly necessary components. Why are fans and the media more confident in coaches and executives who haven’t won any jewelry in this league? Why do so many people look at documented evidence of accomplishment and move so quickly to tear it down? Why won’t Reggie Jackson comb his hair?
Phil may not help the narrative when he often dismisses naysayers with a swagger that suggests he’s smarter than everyone else but let’s be honest….who are you to criticize him?…are you an NBA lifer who’s working his way up the ladder?…. an NBA coach who never had great players?… a reporter?… a fan?…or in a phrase, are you someone who’s never won eleven championships….