Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Okafor, Atkinson, Ibaka, Porzingis

Knicks legend Willis Reed had an interesting take on the team’s leadership woes. The Hall of Famer suggested Phil Jackson take the helm as head coach, replacing Jeff Hornacek. 

“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter…He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”

Reed was critical of Jackson’s inability to find a suitable head coach during his run as Knicks president, citing Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Hornacek as disappointments. Jackson’s most recent season as a head coach came with the Lakers in 2010/11, in which L.A. finished with a 57-25 record.

More from the Atlantic…

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Jahlil Okafor in a recent mailbag, calling the Pelicans the best fit for the former #3 overall pick. In the event that Okafor isn’t traded at the deadline, however, Pelton named the Bucks as a potential landing spot over the offseason. Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe may opt out of his contract, making Okafor a logical candidate to slide into his role.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post handed out individual grades to the 9-47 Nets. Kenny Atkinson received a B-, as the rookie head coach has done a good job of keeping his players focused despite their gaudy record. GM Sean Marks was given a C+, largely due to his inability to capitalize on Yogi Ferrell‘s potential, and wasting $4MM on Greivis Vasquez.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave props to the Celtics, saying Brad Stevens‘ squad is well-positioned for the future. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach [Brad Stevens] and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft, which is remarkable,” Kerr said. “Boston’s in a great place. I have a lot of respect for Brad and Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] for what they’ve done and obviously, Isaiah Thomas. They’ve been a great story this year.”
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Raptors received assurances that Serge Ibaka would re-sign after the season. Ibaka, who has yet to make his team debut, will be expected to help lift Toronto out of their recent funk- entering the All-Star break having dropped six of their last 10. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, if Toronto doesn’t retain Ibaka over the offseason, their cap space can expand to $21.2MM.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to get on the same page as Derrick Rose, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “We’re still trying to find that connection between us, where we know exactly where the guy’s going to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We have to get a really good feel for each other. That doesn’t happen overnight. We’re still trying to work on that.’’ An anonymous NBA source added fuel to the fire, observing “I don’t think Derrick is helping Porzingis’s growth, with his head down going to the basket, not really looking for him.’’
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18 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Okafor, Atkinson, Ibaka, Porzingis

  1. GuruGray

    Reed states that Phil Jackson made MJ, Kobe, and Shaq champions. I would argue that MJ, Kobe, and Shaq made Jackson a champion coach. Not to discredit his work as a head coach, but it definitely helps when you have arguably three of the top 10 players in league history all during the prime of their careers.

    • All those players were losers before Jackson came along. He got those teams over the hump. Also, whoever thought a great coach would make a great GM was totally off base.

      • GuruGray

        So Shaq was a loser when he took the Magic to the 95 Finals as a 3rd year pro? When his team beat the Jackson lead Bulls in the Conf Semis…

        • You know what i mean….. the bulls with Jordan I think it was Michael’s eight year or so when Phil came along and they finally won the championship. Same with the Lakers Shaq Kobe couldn’t get over the hump.

            • That doesn’t match up with what I said. Was LeBron and Bosh and Wade in Miami and failing for 3 or 4 years? Read what you write before you hit send.

              • NBAFAN

                You said MJ, Kobe and Shaq were losers before they were coach by Phil Jackson. I then asked you since Lebron was a “loser” before he got to Miami did Erik Spoelstra turn him into a champion ?? Jeez why are you so emotional…

                • Formerlyz

                  Pat Riley did convince LeBron to get in the post more. I’m actually on your side, but i thought I’d point that out

        • ChiCity773

          Yes Shaq was a loser then he beat the bulls so what he got no rings until LA fired Del Harris and Added Jackson

          Those lakers team was stacked too Eddie Jones,Van Excel, Young Kobe Shaq and Elden Campbell

  2. thedude

    Jackson and mj,Kobe,shay needed each other it’s kind of like Brady and belichick, Popovich Duncan Parker during their run he now has kawahi, a coach never truly does it alone obviously he needs players who can play. You can’t discredit a coach because he has good players. Name a team in history that won a championship with out good players and if there are there aren’t many of them.

      • I thought of the Pistons too but they had eight or nine very good players. Billups Rip Hamilton Rasheed Wallace very very good players.

      • Nicholas Curcio

        The 04 pistons had 2 or 3 potential half of famers. Arguebaly the best defender in the league And if im not mistaken, 4 of the 5 starters were on the all-star team (rip. Chauncy. And both Wallace’s either 04 or 05). Lol.

  3. Formerlyz

    With bigs clogging the lanes all the time, there is less space for Rose, Melo and Porzingis. Also, the style they’re trying to play b/c of phil jackson, limits them offensively, and doesn’t maximize their skillsets

    • Formerlyz

      I agree. They’ve done a great job if establishing a new culture since he’s been there, and he has found a couple of players as well as made a couple of good deals in free agency, like for Booker. That team hasn’t won much, but they’re in every game and they can definitely score. They just can’t play defense. They’ve also been without Lin almost all year, so maybe a few of those close losses become wins

      • gmflores27

        Yes but I feel that the roster needs to be adjusted more and guys like Lopez, Bogs, or Skil don’t really fit the blueprint of what they’re trying to build. I say trade all of them to the highest bidder

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