Hall-of-Fame GM Jerry Krause has something of a complicated legacy with Knicks fans. The former Bulls executive, who was elected to Springfield a few days after his death earlier this year, largely built the teams which tormented New York throughout the ‘90s. But he also engineered the trade which landed the Knicks their beloved enforcer, Charles Oakley. Oh, and Krause hired Phil Jackson as head coach, setting the Zen Master on his own Hall-of-Fame path, one that eventually caught the eye of Knicks owner James Dolan.
But Krause’s legacy as an inscrutable scouting genius lives on behind the scenes in one of his greatest pupils, Knicks scouting adviser Clarence Gaines. Marc Berman wrote about the man behind the Knicks’ drafts—it’s some of Berman’s best work, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
Krause hired young Gaines, the son of legendary college coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines, as a scout with the Bulls, and the junior Gaines internalized much of Krause’s scouting tenants, particularly the lesson about keeping your mouth shut.
“Call him different,’’ Jazz vice president of player personnel Walter Perrin told The Post. “He has his own style — something Jerry instilled in his scouts. They sit away from people and keep to themselves. Jerry didn’t want his people talking to anybody. It gives them an opportunity to concentrate on what they’re there for.’’
Berman got in touch with Phil Jackson, as well as former Bull (and Knick) Bill Cartwright, who both mentioned the kind of player assessments that Krause demanded of scouts like Gaines:
“When he came to the Bulls from private industry, he was one of two scouts Jerry Krause had on the staff,’’ Jackson wrote in his email. “Jerry asked scouts and coaches to go to the mat for their choice of players.’’
“He was a guy who stood up for what he believed in,’’ Cartwright recalled. “He had a really unique perspective to players and had strong confidence. He was his own person. I just remember [Krause and Gaines] arguing over players. All the time.’’
That confidence was what convinced Jackson to draft Kristaps Porzingis. Hopefully Gaines uses that well-honed scouting sense and finds another gem at No. 8. We believe in you, Clarence!