Sunday, January 23, 2005

Next on the Coaching List… Herb Williams
By Imtiaz Mussa

The New York Knicks are in no way to be mistaken as a team that can win an NBA Championship but expectations for being the champions of the Atlantic Division and maybe some progress in the playoffs seemed realistic. After all, the division the Knicks play in is the worst in the league.

Up in Boston, Danny Ainge is making moves that are making people scratch their heads. Toronto just dealt Vince Carter; does anybody know any other player on that team? Philadelphia will forever be a one man show as long as Iverson gets thirty shots a game. New Jersey if healthy probably should be the team to come out but no Jefferson combined with the injury risks of Carter and Kidd could spell trouble. The Knicks have a solid point guard in Marbury, Mohammed and Kurt Thomas are good frontcourt players but Houston is too hurt and Jamal Crawford is still learning about shot selection.

Therefore, even if they are a flawed team, the Knicks could be considered the favorites and it started that way as the team started to win but then a horrendous stretch of losses including a ones against the New Orleans Hornets, getting swept by Chicago, and a loss against the Rockets which came down to Marbury forgetting about the shot clock. Head Coach Lenny Wilkens decides he’s had enough and resigns making Knick favorite Herb Williams the head coach until the end of the season.

Why did Lenny decide to hang it up after just about a year on the job?
Isiah may be on the market for a new coach
Wilkens’ best coaching days are behind him and though he preached defense, he was not hard enough on his players. This is especially the case in regards to Stephon Marbury who is the pride and joy of General Manager Isiah Thomas. However, one can’t help but feel that Thomas was really in charge on the bench instead of Wilkens. It all started with the firing of Wilkens’ long time assistant Dick Helm after New York suffered their worst loss in a home opener. But aside from Wilkens, Thomas was fired as coach of the Pacers when Larry Bird came into power and wanted to hire Rick Carlisle. People have a feeling that Isiah will want to return to the bench at some point in time.

But Thomas has backed off on that front feeling that the rigor of being a GM in New York is enough work. With Wilkens gone, who’s next? For now it’s Herb Williams who has a good relationship with the players but can be considered a bit inexperienced. However prior to today’s loss against the Bucks, Herb owned the highest win percentage of any coach in team history. He coached one game and won but now, he is at .500. Is there anything Williams can do to become the permanent coach of the Knicks? The answer is to just win. If the Knicks can get back on track and win the Atlantic as well as a playoff series, this team will have considered this season a success and lovable Herb will be the coach of this team. Anything short of that and a big name coach is coming to the Garden.

Looking at the field of prospects, there are not many who could co-exist with Isiah. The choice of many Knick fans is Phil Jackson.
Many years have passed
since Phil called the Garden home
The Zen Master wore the blue and orange during the championship days and since moving into coaching, has won nine championship rings. But, he did so with a couple of Hall of Famers named MJ and Scottie on the Bulls and Shaq and Kobe on the Lakers. Is he willing to come to a team that has no one on that level? Plus, can he co-exist with Isiah? The answer to the latter is a definite no.

The man whose team beat Jackson’s Lakers in the 2004 NBA Championship is Detroit coach Larry Brown. Unlike Jackson, people are confident that Brown will get along with Thomas. But again, would he really want to leave Detroit where he and Joe Dumars have built a championship team? A couple of months ago, the answer would be no but then a certain brawl occurred that made Brown sick to his stomach. Ever since, Brown’s future in the Motor City has been the subject of great debate. He is the one who seems the most realistic.

Other names will be bantered about like Pat Riley, George Karl, and Jeff Bzdelik but in all likelihood, look for a press conference to come up in July where Larry Brown will be named the new head coach.


Blogger salas said...

Mo-Pete. VC's overrated.

10:55 PM  

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