While most of you probably thought that I meant that he got a new head coaching job, that is not at all the case. Phil Jackson can now add fiance to his list of responsibilities. Phil Jackson popped the question to girlfriend Jeanie Buss. The couple announced the engagement on her Twitter when she posted a picture of the ring telling her followers: “Twitter family – Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted! :-)’.
The couple has been dating since 2001, but of course have a long history together. Buss is the daughter of Jerry Buss who owns the Los Angeles Lakers where Phil famously coached for many years and was speculated to make a comeback this year after Mike Brown was fired. Congrats to the happy couple!
It is unbelievable where both of these teams stand currently. The New York Knicks currently have a hold of first place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-5. That includes two blowout victories against the defending NBA Champions Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony has really stepped up into an MVP candidate and Jason Kidd has shown that no matter the age, he is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Lakers have been a mess all season. From firing head coach Mike Brown five games into the season to loss of point guard Steve Nash to the lack of winning from this team, nothing seems to be going right. Dwight Howard can’t make a free throw if you paid him and head coach Mike D’Antoni might be in over his head. Superstar Kobe Bryant is known for being confident, but has lately seemed deflated.
However, Kobe has done some incredible things in the Garden. He is one of those players who loves having the spotlight on him. So what happens tonight? Do the Lakers come in and dominate MSG like they know they can do or do the Knicks beat another power house team and cement their place in the NBA? I have no idea what will happen tonight, but it will interesting. I predict the Lakers to squeak by just because of how good Kobe has been in the Garden and they need a win so badly. East Coast vs. West Coast- who you takin?
The Lakers started the season 1-4. In order to fix this, Jerry Buss fired head coach Mike Brown. It was sad, but we all saw it coming. Brown’s coaching never quite fit the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA was buzzing about who would coach Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Naturally, everyone assumed the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson would make his return to Los Angeles. It only made sense, he has a great relationship with Kobe and had a new big man to work with, Dwight Howard. There were so many rumors that it was Jackson’s job for the taking. It seemed like we were going to see a reunion, but the Lakers shocked everyone. They instead hired former New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni was recovering from knee surgery that he had in the offseason allowing assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff to coach a few games in the interim. This is how the Lakers have done under each coach:
It doesn’t sound like the Lakers are responding too week to D’Antoni’s coaching. To be fair, Dwight Howard has come under fire recently for missing countless free throw attempts. One bright spot of the season thus far has been Kobe Bryant being the youngest player to reach 30,000 points. However, no one will ever forget that Mike D’Antoni was chosen over Phil Jackson for a head coaching position.
They fired a coach last week and have now made their decision on a new one. Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni has coaching experience, most recently with the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. He has never won a title, but he is a former Coach of the Year. As he embarks on taking over in Los Angeles, just how much pressure is on him?
A lot. Luckily for D’Antoni, he has worked in a highly stressful environment in New York City. If you can handle New York media, you can pretty much work anywhere. The media constantly put a wedge between D’Antoni and superstar Carmelo Anthony. This is what SUPPOSEDLY led to his firing, but in case anyone forgot, there is an even bigger star in Los Angeles. So, if D’Antoni does not lead this team to a championship, will he be considered a failure?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The NBA has created an atmosphere that if you do not win right away, there is something wrong. Don’t believe me? How many people said that a Miami Heat led by Lebron James failed because they did not win the title. They made it to the finals, but did not bring home the title. It took an entire year for Lebron to get some of the critics off his back when he got to hoist the trophy up and people still doubt his talent.
D’Antoni is a great coach and no one will take that from him, but if he does not take his team all the way he is a failure. Everyone will say, well if they would have hired Phil, then they would have gotten there. One problem. The Lakers have some serious competition in the West, namely the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if they get into the finals, they will still have to face the Heat who look to be the favorite to win the Eastern Championship again.
My conclusion is that no matter what D’Antoni does, he will be criticized. If this team ever hits a skid, which it naturally will, people will be ready to say that if Phil was coaching they would be winning. It is easy to speculate, but slumps happen regardless of who is coaching. I do not predict the Lakers to win it all or even win the Western Conference. I am still picking a rematch of last year’s matchup.
Wow I was willing to bet money that it would be the return of Phil Jackson to Los Angeles. New big man, who better than Phil to take them to the championship? However, the Lakers have decided to go with former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. While his name was in the running, I do not think anybody could have predicted this.
D’Antoni was given a three year/ $12 million offer with a club option for a fourth year. Of course everyone wants to know just how Kobe feels about this move. He had this to say to ESPN, “I love PJ but I’m very excited about D’Antoni.” We shall see if Bryant still feels that way throughout the season, but we all know the media will make something up regardless.
I do not think that this will be a smooth transition for D’Antoni, who is recovering from knee surgery, very quickly. He is a former point guard who works best when he has a great point guard to work with. A great point guard… maybe like Steve Nash? I will not judge D’Antoni’s ability until Nash is able to return to the court. Nash has a non-displaced fracture in his leg and his return time is looking to be around one to two weeks. An official announcement will be made by the team in the next couple of days.
With the New York Knicks losing six in a row, it was only a matter of time as to when fingers were going to be pointed. Of course we can all blame the players not playing like the professionals they should be. However, maybe it is more than that. Maybe it is the coaching that is to blame. I have never been a fan of Mike D’Antoni honestly. I think his hard offense and no defense method will always fail no matter how many points your players put up. The number one saying in sports has always been and will always be- DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. Sure if you put up 150 points a night you will win a lot of games, but the Knicks are not that good of a team. The bright side to this is that they are not getting blown away. They are staying in the game through the end, but coming up just an inch short. Many critics are also blaming Amare Stoudemire’s lack of involvement in the offense. Many are also criticizing Carmelo Anthony’s involvement in shooting too much. There is just something not clicking with this team. The definite reason? Nobody knows, but pointing figures won’t do anything. They just need to have a baseball memory and start fresh and do what they do. Play relaxed and confident basketball.