New York Knicks

2022 NBA Championship Game 1

Mark Jackson sits alone in his office. He is about to give the biggest pregame speech of his head coaching career to his team and as is his custom of late he takes a few minutes for himself. He thinks of his team and how an improbable a collection of players have made it this far, to a NBA Championship. He thinks about his coaching staff and how they too are an improbable group, a mishmash of old and new school NBA assistants. His thoughts then turn to the teams front office, General Manager and his owner. How they had been able to work so well together and bring this team together despite all their differences. Mark knew this was in no small part because he had become less rigid in his own coaching style. All these thoughts race through his head while in his hand he holds a gold pen that he absently rolls between his fingers. The pen is his constant reminder of how things could have been so different.

He had bought the pen to use on a special occasion, and that occasion was signing a contract to become the Head Coach of the New York Knicks. He remembered the interview he had in 2017, he remembered the excitement when information leaked from the Knicks that he was a front-runner for the position, he remembered how Mr. Dolan had told him how exciting it would be to have a native New Yorker coaching his team, but he mostly remembers never using the pen.

The Knicks had decided to go with the other candidate, the one who they said was better able to work with the front office and General Manager. This had broken his heart. But it had also brought him self discovery. He realized that if the dysfunctional New York Knicks turned him down, and if he was ever going to be a head coach again, he was going to have to change.

So he did. He stopped dismissing analytics with impunity and while he still believed in old school basketball he realized with the young players in the NBA he had to find a new way to teach old school.

Then it happened.

A perpetual lottery team had called and said they wanted to interview him for the head coaching position. He had gone in and answered their questions with his new coaching philosophy and when the interview was over he was sure he didn’t have the job. The owner and GM had listened to him eschew his ideas in silence, hardly asking any questions after. He had chalked up the interview to a learning moment and set himself to another season of broadcasting NBA games. Then they called and offered him the job. Not only did they offer him the Head Coaching position, they had offered him a six-year contract. They said they wanted build a team  and they wanted him to know they were committed to him helping building it. He couldn’t get there fast enough to sign.

“And the rest is history.” Mark mused out loud.

He put his gold pen in his breast pocket, patted it a couple of times to make sure it was secure, then got up and headed down the hall to the locker room. Absolutely confident of what he was going to say to his team.

Thursday, April 19th 2017. My Office

The above is of course fiction but it is a story I believe can come true.  Mark Jackson has made some mistakes in some people’s eyes but he can coach. His time with Golden State lends to that. Yesterday April 18th he had an interview with the New York Knicks in Los Angeles and I obviously don’t think he will get the Head Coach position. But if he does do I think my story of a NBA Championship trip could come true? No.

I honestly don’t believe Mark Jackson would fit any high-profile, star laden team. I believe if he goes to a Charlotte, Denver, or Indiana he could be really successful coaching and building a team.

All of these are moot points as of right now. We don’t know what the Knicks will do (ever) and I don’t know if Mark Jackson has tuned his coaching philosophy one bit. But if he has and a Charlotte, Denver, or Indiana type team give him the opportunity, I one hundred percent believe my story can come true.

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