“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told The 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.” According to Reed, it is less a health issue with Jackson, 71, and more an 11-rings mindset of “Let the record stand for itself.” Reed said he thinks Jackson still can reach modern players. “When I was a young player, the most impressive coach for me would’ve been Red Auerbach because of his record,’’ Reed said. “Same thing with Phil Jackson with his record in Chicago and L.A. I’d want to play for Phil Jackson. He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”
Other first-time Hall of Fame finalists include longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut women’s star Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas coach Bill Self, and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
Nick Young will become the third Lakers player to participate in the event after Byron Scott (1987, 1988) and Michael Cooper (1987). Young didn’t miss an opportunity to take a jab at the former Lakers coach, who he frequently clashed with over playing time and public criticisms. “I might pick Cooper’s brain,” Young said of his contest preparation. “But I don’t know if Byron would tell me the right thing to do.”
“With having a coach behind me, I don’t have to look over my shoulder or worry about coming out. That plays a major part,” said the 31-year-old Young, who grew up a Lakers fan and attended championship parades while starring at Cleveland High of Reseda and USC. “It messes up with your whole cycle when you have a coach who harps on everything you do and talks so down on you. It was tough.”