Phil Jackson Should Come to Brooklyn,But Not as a Coach

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Updated: November 25, 2013
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The Brooklyn Nets lost their 5th straight game of the season to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon. They are currently 3-10, and this is not the start the Nets organization or their fan base was expecting. I am hearing some people say the Nets are already finished for the season, I have heard others call them this year’s version of the failed Los Angeles Lakers project with Dwight Howard from last season, and I’ve heard others say it’s still early and this season can be salvaged.

I believe only the second and third arguments have any merit. The first argument that the Nets are already finished 13 games into the season while playing in the terrible Atlantic Division is silly, and shows those are the “Sky is falling” people that know nothing about basketball. It’s 13 games into an 82 game schedule people, take a deep breathe.

The second argument about it being reminiscent to the Dwight Howard disaster last season is very possible. Deron Williams can’t stay healthy, similar to Steve Nash last season. Brook Lopez is becoming a great player, but he can’t be great from the doctor’s office. Lopez is the Nets hurt big man similar to what Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard were going through last season in Los Angeles. So the jury is still out on argument two, but the people making argument two may be spot on.

The third argument with the Nets still being able to salvage the season is also very possible. The Eastern Conference is a two-horse race now that Derrick Rose is out for the season with another terrible knee injury. Get well soon D-Rose. The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are at the top of the summit in the eastern Conference, and rightly so. 

The Knicks are just as bad as the Nets, so even if you can count on the Knicks to turn their own season around, it’s not that ludicrous a notion that the Nets with some tweaking can still be salvaged and do some damage against the Knicks, Pacers and Heat.

The only way for that to happen would be if changes occurred in the Nets Organization as a whole, and not to the roster. The roster is fine, I’ve watched every game this season and the roster isn’t the problem. So blowing it now would be ludicrous. The two main offensive threats coming into the season were supposed to be Deron Williams and Brook Lopez; both have been out injured.

If you take the two best players off of any roster then you’ll have a horrible team. Look at the Oklahoma City Thunder in last year’s playoffs with out Russell Westbrook. Or the Miami Heat without Dwayne Wade. And that’s only one great player per team. Imagine both stars. 

Where their needs to be a change is in the infrastructure of the organization. Enter Phil Jackson. My friend Ali Salameh (Great basketball mind) mentioned Phil Jackson to me in passing yesterday as a possibility the Nets should look into. And that got me to thinking, why not Phil Jackson to the Nets? But not as a coach, but rather as the behind the scenes genius pulling the strings.

Phil Jackson is not going to come out of the hills of Montana to coach another team unless LeBron James is his main player. But what he will come out of retirement for is to own a piece of a team and have control over basketball operations. 

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikahail Prokhorov lives in Russia and leaves day-to-day operations to General Manager Billy King and his staff. You mean to tell me a GM that has never won a championship can run a team better than a man who has more championship rings than he has fingers? I don’t believe so. 

Of course the Nets have Jason Kidd coaching and he’s never coached and the situation with that is terrible. Wouldn’t giving Phil Jackson (who has no front office experience) free rein to the Nets be similar to giving Jason Kidd the coaching job? Neither has an any experience, and this would seem like De Ja Vu but on an even grander, more horrible scale wouldn’t it? I don’t believe so and here’s why. 

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Phil Jackson is engaged to Jeanie Buss, Executive VP of business operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m sure in their time together, Jackson has watched her and her legendary father Dr. Jerry Buss run the Lakers organization to multiple championships. He may not have any direct experience himself, but he’s been around winners his entire life.

From winning a championship as a player on the New York Knicks, to winning with the greatest player of all time Michael Jordan, to winning 5 titles as Lakers coach. The man is a winner and he would bring two things with him to the Nets, a winning mentality and credibility. I’m sure Jackson would want to pick his own General Manager and his own head coach. 

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Giving Phil Jackson the power to bring in his own personnel would likely be fine with Mikhail Prokhorov.  Prokhorov has conveyed on multiple occasions that he has a five-year plan on bringing a championship to the Nets…this is year four. I doubt he wants to see a $180 million dollar roster investment go down as the most lavish embarrassment in NBA history. I know I wouldn’t. 

The Lakers and Jim Buss passed up the chance to bring back Jackson last season because reportedly Jackson “wanted the moon” in order to come back and to the Lakers. And Jackson also wanted total control and say over the direction of the franchise he went to, similar to Pat Riley in Miami. This would be a great opportunity for both Phil Jackson and Mikhail Prokhorov. 

Rolling the dice on Phil Jackson could not be any worse than what is currently happening now in Brooklyn. Every player on the Nets would be energized knowing Phil Jackson is running the team. This may be the change the Nets need to get them back on track. The Nets look bored and lackluster already in the young season, and who better to motivate them than the Zen Master himself. 

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