Why Phil Jackson Coaching Home Games Spells Disaster

Reasons why Phil Jackson only coaching home games would backfire on the New York Knicks.


Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches of all-time not just in the NBA but in sports history. Phil doesn’t have enough fingers for all his championship rings. Ramona Shelburne is reporting that there’s talk within the New York Knicks organization that Phil could coach the Knicks home games next season. She also said he’s lost about 20 pounds and Kobe Bryant said on Sunday  “He looks great. Physically he looks good. I’m happy for him.”

Most people would think that Jackson being on the bench for half the season would be a huge plus for the 2016-17 Knicks. It would be great for the Knicks 41 home games but overall it would be a disaster

Jackson would put tremendous pressure on whoever would be the “Co-Coach”. Many Knicks fans aren’t sold on Kurt Rambis and hearing Phil speak about him to the media last week made it seem like he isn’t sold on Rambis either. Phil would like Kurt to be the coach going forward but isn’t convinced he’s the best candidate yet, or else he would’ve given him a bit more praise. Though he didn’t bash Rambis, he also didn’t silence the doubters.

Mar 5, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks interim head coach Kurt Rambis directs his team against the Detroit Pistons during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason it is called home court advantage. Teams play better at home than they do on the road. That’s common sense. So Jackson would be coaching the easier half of the schedule next year. The Knicks are 16-18 this year at the garden compared to 12-22 on the road. They win more at home and they play tougher at home. That won’t be any different next year regardless of who’s coaching. So if Jackson ends up coaching the home games he should have a better record than whoever will be coaching the road games.

Jackson is one of the greatest to ever do it, so any coach will look inferior (because they are) compared to him. That will put more scrutiny on the other coach, the fans and media will be calling for Phil to coach full-time. If the Knicks are successful at home and they struggle on the road, the other coach will receive all of the blame for it whether it’s really their fault or not.

Before Jackson ultimately took the Knicks offer as Team President he tried to coach the Los Angeles Lakers under similar circumstances. Jerry Buss wanted all or nothing, so he told Jackson if he can’t coach the whole season then he is going in a different direction. Jackson said he couldn’t do it because of health reasons so that’s why he’s in New York.

If Phil isn’t convinced Rambis is the man for the job, who would want to be the Head Coach of the Knicks only on the road? Luke Walton is going to be a hot coaching commodity once the season is over. He will have his fair share of offers from teams to be their Head Coach. There’s no way he would turn down those offers to play second fiddle to Jackson and only coach road games.

Regardless of who the Knicks Co-Coach would be, they would be looked at as Coach B. Jackson is a legend, they won’t get the admiration from the fans or media that Jackson will. That’s why an established coach would scoff at the idea of coaching 41 games. The only coaches who might do something like this would be a rookie head coach (Derek Fisher Pt. 2) or a coach with some experience who doesn’t have any other offers because their resume is mediocre or downright bad (Rambis). No one wants another Derek Fisher or Kurt Rambis on the bench calling the shots for the Knicks next year, even if it’s just for 41 games. Brian Shaw is another name attached to Phil but he got fired from the Denver Nuggets after just 141 games and just 56 wins.

The Knicks beat the Lakers on Sunday thanks to a game-winning 3 on a broken play from Jose Calderon. The inbounds play was clearly for Carmelo Anthony to get the last shot but the defense was all over Melo and it left the ball in the unlikely hand’s of Calderon. Calderon was able to bail out Rambis this time but what if that happens again next year and the shot is missed?

If the Knicks are competitive next year, winning more at home than on the road, a situation like this happens again and the Knicks lose in overtime, the outcry would be heard all throughout the sports world. The call by Rambis was obviously very poor because the Lakers didn’t have to switch or anything to keep Anthony from getting the ball. Kobe covered him the whole time. If this happens next year in a road game, the coach would be bashed by the fans. Everyone would be  saying “If Phil was the coach that would’ve never happened.”

Even if the coach draws up a good play and the Knicks still lose, that coach would be criticized. What if the Knicks have a big road game coming up? Everyone would want Phil on the bench that game and then that would undermine the other coach. Controversy would be everywhere.

After every road loss the players would get asked if the outcome would’ve been different if Phil Jackson was coaching this game. What if the players do believe the outcome would’ve been different? What if Carmelo Anthony doesn’t like the other coach and would prefer Jackson to coach the rest of the season. No one could possibly live up to Jackson and no one will be fairly treated by the fans, media and possibly the players if they are splitting coaching duties with him.

Jackson coaching half the season would be a a magnet for distraction for the team. The other coach will be getting blame no matter what and everyone would want Jackson to coach full-time. Jerry Buss was 100% right. It’s all or nothing. If Jackson can coach the Knicks full-time next year then that would be a huge advantage for the Knicks free agent pitches this summer. Who wouldn’t want to play for Phil Jackson?

If Jackson feels he isn’t capable of coaching the whole season then he has to start his coaching search over and find a coach that will get the best out of this team. No good coaches will come to the Knicks to coach half the season. As great as Jackson is, his presence will do more harm than good because the Knicks won’t have a good coach for the road games and the distractions will be everywhere.

Either coach the team yourself or find another coach. Those are the only 2 options that can have a positive outcome.

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