The Phil Jackson "Torpedo of Truth" media tour has kicked into the high gear on Monday, courtesy of an interview with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck and a radio spot on ESPN's "Mike and Mike." Did the Zen Master once again dip into his boundless knowledge of Urban Dictionary for more kinky sex vocab? Not this time, you perverts!
Instead, Phil offered up some thoughts that I, for one, found quite encouraging. Let's break 'em down.
Though he still sounded fairly zealous about his basketball philosophy, Phil noted the Spurs, Hawks and Warriors as three offenses he likes. He also made a point to emphasize the Knicks of Red Holzman over his beloved triangle:
"I think that's the most remarkable [thing], thinking about that [1970s] Knick team, is that Jerry Lucas could push the ball up the court, Dave DeBusschere could push the ball. [Bill] Bradley, [Dick] Barnett, [Earl] Monroe, [Walt] Frazier."
"I think that's a very important part of basketball that has to be emphasized," Jackson said, "is that we want everybody to be able to make plays for other people on your team, and that they can play interpositional or interchangeable positions on the floor. It just kind of breaks the mold, and it gives you kind of a liberty, a license."
Hey, that's good to hear! The irony in this case is that the modern small-ball offenses do utilize interchangeable positions, with teams favoring big men who can handle the ball and make plays over the hulking low-post tanks of yore.
As for the defense, well, Jackson is in favor of it:
"Defense is the biggest remarkable change that you can make in a basketball team, from one year to the next," he said. "This game has to be really started from the thought that">—and here Jackson slaps the table for emphasis—"we're going to be a defensive-minded team."
Jackson then took to the radio to remind people that his championship Bulls teams set a record for three-point attempts in the Finals, and employed crack shooters like John Paxson, Steve Kerr and Trent Tucker. He also said the Knicks were "covered at lead guard and small forward" leading up to the draft and free agency. He didn't actually mention Jose Calderon by name (Langston Galloway: starting PG????), and he did say that they intend to shift Carmelo Anthony to the 4 based on advantages on the court. Hopefully Derek Fisher does a better job of recognizing said advantages next season.
On the bad side, Charley Rosen -- the fossil of basketball philosophy -- made another appearance in the Post, bragging on his biweekly online chats with Phil and providing us with the dumbest quote of the entire draft process to date:
As for the speculation Duke swingman Justise Winslow could be the pick at No. 4, Rosen said: "What do they need him for? They need power guys more than they need him."
Rosen advocates drafting Willie Cauley-Stein (perfectly alright!) and then pairing him with Greg Monroe (less alright!). "As a big, all you need to do is rotate on defense. Greg can learn to do that, but Cauley-Stein, that’s what he does," he claims. Hey, that's all you need to do? How exciting!
So on one hand we have Phil stressing defense and position-less basketball, and this dude Rosen is hoping the Knicks lock themselves into a guy who is bad at defense and useless outside of eight feet on offense. Hey Phil, maybe lose this guy's email address.