Posts Tagged ‘Dan Patrick Show’

Phil Jackson tension good for Knicks

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com




VIDEO: Knicks fans give new team president Phil Jackson a standing ovation

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The standing ovation was a given.

The hero’s welcome from that wild Madison Square Garden crowd on hand for the first official game of the Phil Jackson era was right off the pages of the script of a Broadway production. And the Knicks nailed the ending, knocking off the Eastern Conference leading (and reeling) Indiana Pacers to punctuate the night.

The Knicks have won seven straight and are giving legitimate chase for that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a last-dtich effort to put a little lipstick on a season gone awry. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they heated up around the time the Jackson rumors cranked up.

That same energy that was in the building last night is the same type of energy that fuels seasons in the NBA. A healthy dose of tension, the good kind that puts everyone on alert and drives a lackluster or average effort into an elevated state, can work for all involved. Think of it as the Knicks’ very own version of March Madness. If they can keep it going long enough, maybe they can find their way into the playoffs (something the new boss has mentioned repeatedly) against all odds.

Carmelo Anthony has played this way all season. He’s been relentless, even while some others wearing Knicks uniforms have not been on that same page, so to speak. He was relentless last night, as Knicks coach Mike Woodson found out during one timeout. Phil’s presence gives the rest of the Knicks, coaches and players alike, something to play for the rest of this season. Intended or not, his arrival gives this team a rallying point that can be used in whatever way is needed.

Watching Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. and even J.R. Smith all crank it up to that next level with Anthony shows us that the Knicks have had it in them all along.

If you listen to the men who have had the ultimate success with Jackson, this is what they insist he will bring to the Knicks. A championship-level attitude and energy might well be worth the $12 million a year Knicks owner James Dolan is reportedly paying the Zen master for his presence.

Kobe Bryant certainly believes it to be true. He told the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday that the entire Knicks roster is in store for a type of wisdom they haven’t been privy to before Jackson’s arrival. And yes, Bryant thinks Jackson can do it from the president’s perch instead of the coaching fox hole:

“I just think his mentorship shifts,” Bryant said. “I think it goes from having a direct influence on the players themselves to having a direct influence on the coaching staff, which he’s accustomed to doing because that’s how he coached as well.

“He really had a great rapport with his coaching staff and he was really a great mentor for them, and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing and it will just kind of trickle down from there. It’s really no different from what Pat [Riley] has been able to do in Miami with [Erik] Spoelstra.”

There’s no need to go there right now with the Riley and Jackson comparisons. Riley has accomplished far more as an executive and it’s an unreasonable measurement at this stage of the game.

What should resonate, though, is the staunch support Jackson is receiving from all corners of the basketball establishment. You expect it from his former players. But I’ve spoken with several of his new competitors, executives who have every reason to root against him, that think his presence alone changes the game in New York.

“People talk all the time about changing the culture and reshaping a franchise,” a Western Conference assistant general manager told me, “but they don’t come through the door and command the respect of the people within the organization. And I mean the secretaries, the training staff, the folks in the ticket office as well as the coaches and players. Phil doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s got everyone’s attention. It’s his show now.”

Indeed it is. And if the first impression means anything, it’s going to be a wild ride for the Knicks and their fans.


VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony talks about the Knicks’ streak and Phil Jackson’s potential impact

Say it on the radio, it must be so

Dwight Howard said Monday that he wants to finish his playing career in Orlando, that he wants to win an NBA championship with the Magic and that he loves the city and its fans.

He even said it on the radio, so it must be true. And most definitely binding.

“I love Orlando,” Howard said on the Dan Patrick Show. “The city has been very good to me and I would love to finish my career here. I want to win a championship and I want to win it in Orlando. … That’s all I’ve been thinking about.”

Uh huh.

Howard, the Magic center who ranks among the league’s MVP candidates this season and high on a list of future NBA free agents, has the option to exit his contract after the 2011-12 season. As Bryan Schmitz points out in his BasketBlog for the Orlando Sentinel, that means the team would want to know Howard’s intentions by next February’s trading deadline.

So the crossroads for central Florida and another dominating All-Star big man – a la Shaquille O’Neal back in 1996 – is a little more than 11 months away.

And the fact that Howard stated unequivocally that he wants to keep playing and winning in Orlando means, what, exactly? That he cannot change his mind? That his feelings about Orlando now might not be significantly different from how he’ll feel about the franchise and the market come July 2012?

B-b-b-b-but he told it to Dan Patrick. On the radio! C’mon, Howard could write his intentions in blood at the front gates to Disney World and it wouldn’t exactly be a guarantee to supersede all the enticements and riches to which he might succumb when he hits free agency. Didn’t LeBron James say a bunch of right things a year or more out from his big announcement?

We’re holding out for that moment when the big guy really, officially, locks himself in. By, y’know, crossing his heart and hoping to die.