Phil Jackson Rumors
Knicks president Phil Jackson wasn’t that much a basketball genius that if Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis were both on the draft board last June, he would’ve gone Latvian. According to an NBA source, as much as Jackson’s top adviser, Clarence Gaines Jr., wanted Jackson to take Porzingis even if the Knicks had the No. 1 pick, that wasn’t the way the Zen Master would have gone if it was a choice between the two big men. Okafor was Jackson’s man. “He had to draft Okafor — too much a sure thing,’’ the source said.
What was discussed isn’t exactly clear, but Jackson seemed to be talking to the rookie about the proper way to hold the ball when after receiving a pass. Porzingis appreciated the advice. The rookie says Jackson is “always there, around, always helping with little details, telling me stuff.” “Who’s a better mentor, a better coach than Phil Jackson?” he adds. “It’s the best place for me to be in now, alongside with him. He can help me with everything.”
Here’s one example of the advice Jackson’s offered Porzingis. “He was telling me just about the triangle, how to do certain things a little better, just little details (about) where to be all the time,” Porzingis said. “He’s very specific, and that’s what made him win 11 championships — all the little details. To get that advice almost every day from him, it’s huge for me.”
Ian Begley: Kristaps Porzingis says he’s learning from Knicks president Phil Jackson. “Phil is there for me, whatever I need on the court, off the court stuff. So we have a great relationship obviously,” Porzingis said on on ESPN 98.7 FM. “Hes always helping me with little details on the court. Hes a master so I couldnt ask for a better mentor.”
Over the summer, Jackson said in an interview with Charley Rosen that Smith was having “issues with his gal” toward the end of his Knicks tenure. “It was crazy to me because I try to leave my personal life on the side and when somebody sits there, sits behind a desk and tells you to open up on what’s going on with you, you’re thinking that’s going to be between the two of y’all,” Smith said in an interview with ESPN.com on Friday morning. “So, for me, it tells me something I already knew. But to come from someone like Phil, it’s just, it’s crazy. It makes you not want to tell anybody anything [that has] anything to do with your business. It was tough, but that’s how he handles stuff, that’s how he does it.”