In the summer of 2014 Phil Jackson had just joined the front office for the New York Knicks. Knicks fans have been clamoring for owner James Dolan to step aside and someone with better basketball IQ to take over the franchise. Jackson was brought in to be the savior and bring this franchise back to being competitive.
Step one for Jackson was to bring in a coach that can turn bring in stability and be an extension of Jackson’s coaching philosophy. His first choice was a guy he coached in Chicago and that never coached before. That guy was Steve Kerr.
Steve Kerr Spurning New York Knicks Was Best Career Move
Even without any coaching experience, Jackson believed Kerr would be able to teach the Knicks’ players how the triangle is played. The triangle is an offensive system that Jackson preferred to use to coach his teams. And no one can argue with him. He won a total of 11 championships as a coach, and his teams used to triangle offense to win all those titles.
Early on, it certaintly looked like the next head coach of the Knicks would be Kerr. However, there was a development on the West Coast. Mark Jackson was fired as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
This domino falling had an adverse affect on Kerr’s career path and the Knicks future.
Kerr ended up choosing the Warriors. The Knicks were left without a head coach. Jackson had to scramble and re-think who would be head coach. Eventually Jackson ended up hiring Derek Fisher. Fisher was another guy that Jackson coached over the year who understood the triangle and someone who had never coached. He never coached because he had just retired from basketball a few weeks before he was hired.
Just imagine for a second if Kerr had chosen the Knicks three years ago. Would Kerr been able to resurrect this franchise and help them succeed the way the Warriors have? Would the Knicks have been legit contenders in the East with Kerr’s proper leadership? Would the Warriors have gone to the Finals three years in a row, winning two championships along the way? What would’ve happened to Kerr’s coaching career?
Fisher’s coaching career took a downturn last season, when he was fired midway thru his second season. In his first coaching job, he was a losing head coach. And once a head coach loses, its hard for him to get another opportunity. Even thought Fisher also has external distractions that do not help his cause, it is hard for another franchise to see Fisher as a coach after his brief stint with the Knicks.
This could easily have been Kerr’s fate. Not only would he had lost with his roster, but he could’ve lost another opportunity to coach with another team. His coaching career would’ve been over before you know it.
Instead, Kerr is on top. He has won two championships, and it could’ve been three if they did not blow a 3-1 lead last year. All the players on the Warriors respect him. They were undefeated without him in the first three rounds of the playoffs. However, when he came back, the players were excited and were lifted by his presence. The team respects him. The franchise respects him. That kind of respect isn’t given to coaches or former players around the Garden these days.
He spurned the Knicks, and this choice has made his career instead of destroying it.