Phil Jackson demonstrated during Friday’s press conference that he is—how can I put this mildly—a big, stupid baby. But it is also important to remember that his rantings are not only petty as hell, but often completely contradictory.
Perhaps no two issues demonstrate that contradictory nature than Phil’s opinions on Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. Both players have similar strengths (scoring) and weaknesses (defense) at this point in their careers. Yet Jackson went out of his way to paint Melo as the grand saboteur of his beloved triangle offense, while Rose received several compliments for his desire to remain in New York.
“We had a good conversation with him today,. He expressed that he wants to be back. We talked about him going through rehab and work and whatever he has to do. And he’s chosen to go back to Chicago to do that. He’ll also be in L.A., but he also took the time out to say he really he enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams. But he wants to redeem himself as a player, which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.’’
Now let’s compare that with his thoughts on Melo, who has also been on some successful teams (including a successful Knicks team!), has never shied away from the challenge of turning this team around or expressed a desire to play anywhere else despite years of losses.
Phil said meeting with Melo was not contentious, but he told him with direction of team he'd be better off chasing championship elsewhere.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) April 14, 2017
What if Carmelo wants to stay? Jackson says he told him: "We have't won here. You don’t want to end your career" w' a label as a non-winner— Mike Vorkunov (@Mike_Vorkunov) April 14, 2017
So Rose is the consistent winner who wants to redeem himself by turning around the Knicks, and Melo is the guy who needs to earn his reputation as a winner? Let’s go to DJ Khaled for a reaction.
Any time I feel sad, I am going to pull up this picture of DJ Khaled wearing Olympic Melo’s gold medals and smile pic.twitter.com/7bobtJYfEL— Clemzingis (@TheClemReport) August 25, 2016
As for moving the ball—supposedly the keystone of the triangle—Phil seems to excuse Rose’s tendency to barrel into the paint with his head down. The Knicks’ starting point guard, whom they used at point guard this season—he finished second on the team in total assists to Brandon Jennings despite playing 600 more minutes—isn’t strong at the “point guard” stuff.
“Derrick is a scoring guard first and foremost, organizing, leading, stuff like that is not particularly his strength. As a scorer, he is unparalleled. As someone told me today, he is still a leading guy in scoring in the paint. That says something that this guy is willing to take it in there and challenge.’’
As for Melo, who led the Knicks in assists in 2015-16 as a forward, well...
“Holding the ball is not a criticism. It’s a fact. That’s what he does.” - Jax on Melo “criticism”.— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) April 14, 2017
One thing I’ve noticed about Phil Jackson is his ability to say that may be technically correct in a manner that makes you want to punch him in the face. A very reasonable case can be made that Carmelo Anthony needs to go because he holds the ball too long and doesn’t defend. Phil isn’t interested in making that case; he’s more interested in fostering one of his legendary beefs, treating Melo like one of his coaching rivals from the ‘90s and ‘00s.
Just stop talking, man.