Rosen: Phil Jackson: Will he or won’t he coach Nets?

Unlike Pau Gasol, Brook Lopez has the strength and the mass to hold his position in the low post.  This means that the offense could always start with a pass into Lopez, who has his limitations, but can score and make appropriate passes. With the ball so close to the hoop, the defense is compelled to make major adjustments, which leads to other options being available.

Gerald Wallace is a slasher with 3-point range as well as a top-notch defender. In other words, he’s Scottie Pippen 2.0.

Deron Williams functions best in a “read” (as opposed to a patterned grind-it-out) offense that also demands spontaneity.

Plus, there’s no way D-Will will balk at any of Jackson’s demands.

If the triangle fails to generate a makeable shot and the shot clock is down to 5 or 6 seconds, it’s necessary to give the ball to a player (like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant) who can create his own shot.

While Joe Johnson isn’t in the same class as MJ or Kobe, he’s still extremely creative in one-on-one situations.

What the Nets do lack, though, is a power forward who can make a 15-foot jumper under minimum pressure.

Unfortunately, Kris Humphries can only hit do this on a consistent level if he’s alone in the gym. And, for all his ferocious defense and rebounding, Reggie Evans can’t shoot himself in the foot.

RELATED: Avery Johnson fired by Nets, P.J. Carlesimo named interim coach

It says here that under Jackson’s tutelage, Andray Blatche would eventually make the grade.

What other attractions might the Nets offer?

Virtually unlimited money to procure suitable players.  (Jackson already has sufficient funds to live comfortably for several incarnations.)  A perpetually available limo for Jackson’s use. Attractive and interesting places to live in Brooklyn—the Heights, Park Slope, etc., Jackson’s familiarity with, and enjoyment of, all of the cultural possibilities of living in the metropolitan area.

And, above all, another chance to do what Jackson does best.

On the other hand, there are reasons why he might turn ultimately turn down this opportunity.

Does he want to live in a cold weather climate?

Would he have enough say in personnel decisions?

Given his past history of kidney stones (the last one he dubbed “Kobe Bryant” because it wouldn’t pass) and the Roto-Rooter procedure (angioplasty) done to his heart several years ago, would the passion and energy that he always brings to his coaching be detrimental to his health?

Overall, Phil Jackson’s return to the wonderful world of the NBA would be good for the team, for the league and for basketball fans of every persuasion.

Don’t count on it, but don’t rule it out, either.

Charley Rosen is an American author, columnist and former basketball coach. From 1983–1986, he was an assistant to Phil Jackson with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association. He also served as head coach of the Patroons, as well as the CBA’s Rockford Lightning, Oklahoma City Cavalry and Savannah Spirits. A native of The Bronx, N.Y., the 71-year-old Rosen is the author of 16 books about basketball. He is known for his in-depth analysis and caustic views. 


  1. Paul says

    What is all this about Phil not wanting to lve in a cold weather climate? Dude lives in Montana!! I’ve lived in Montana and NYC. NYC does not even have a winter when compared to Montana.

  2. Jeffrey says

    Mr. Rosen, could you please elaborate on why the Brooklyn players fit into the triangle offense? Forgive me, I’m not entirely knowledgeable on the subject, haven’t really understood it’s true principles.

  3. Dan says

    Yeah, the triangle would work perfect…. Smh.

    Presuably, Williams is going to push the tempo to hoist quick threes, or run PnR with Lopez. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t count on Williams’ and his banged up ankle. Plus, teams are going to collapse on Lopez defensively, which means the only remaining option is Johnson, who can’t catch an shoot to save his life.

    And Blatche? Was that a joke of some sort?

    Seriously, it’s time the media start talking about the Nets like they should have been all along: at best, they’re a constant 9-10 seed, and at worst, a lottery team. They’re Milwaukee with a better locale.

    • john steppling says

      actually, had you been watching games this year, you’d have noticed just how good Blatche is playing. So yeah, rosen is exactly right. In fact i agree with all of this except for the notion that its a good trianble team. I mean, to a degree perhaps………….but you have to have a couple guys to shoot. JJ can…..but deron for the second year in a row has been awful.Lopez is playing ok…..slow on dfense, but not the worst. Its just that Hump is a dead loss on defense and wallace isnt what he once was. Why avery never tried marshon brooks is beyond me….or more of teletovic and shengelia. Give the guys a chance….not just three minutes.

      • Dan says

        Well, then you agree with my original point, which is the triangle would be a nightmare for Brooklyn.

        You need a PF that can hit from 15 ft on a regular basis – a Pau Gasol type of PF. Look, I’m not going to take Blatche’s renaissance away from him; so far, the kid seems to have turned his career around. But one thing you’ll never hear anybody say is, “Man, Blatche is really killing it in the triangle!” Also, Joe Johnson would be a terrible fit for the triangle because he’s not going to get isolation opportunities, and that’s the only way he can score.

        But it’s not just about one player, you need an entire team that has an extremely high basketball IQ to execute the triangle. And this Nets team does not have the acumen in the slightest to pull it off.

        • john steppling says

          yeah dan, i agree with all that. The hoop IQ seems below average, to be kind. Its not a smartly assembled roster. (lakers arent either at this point). Joe Johnson is the oddest piece in this and your observation is spot on I think. JJ is a good player and has a size advantage in certain pick and rolls…but again, this comes back to D Will………ive noticed defenses just backing off and letting him shoot from distance because he cant hit anything right now. I do think Blatche has been something or a revelation, given his reputation coming in. I dont know the solution, but i dont think its the triangle.

          • Dan says

            Riiiiight…. I’m an idiot because I’m comparing today’s players in a particular system vs. you who’s looking to players from 20 years ago.

            The game has evolved, chief, and so have the players.

            And last I checked, the Nets don’t suit up Michael Jordan every night.

            But I’m obviously an idiot….. Smh.


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