But Gaines shut out the noise, saw the very rare combination of a 7-foot-3 player who can shoot from deep, pass well and had an excellent vertical. After watching him live in Spain that February, he texted Jackson that Porzingis should be considered the No. 1 pick. “His argument for Kristaps Porzingis convinced me to make that out-of-the-box choice,’’ Jackson admitted in the email.
“Bit of an odd duck,’’ one NBA scout commented, “but he has our respect.’’ Gaines, the Knicks’ vice president of player personnel and Phil Jackson’s most trusted adviser, does not treat the gym like a cocktail party, rather a place to zero in on the finest details of players. “Clarence has a dogged nature to find out what makes a player tick,’’ Jackson wrote in an email Friday to The Post. “He says that when he watches a player, he has to be ‘moved’ to get intrigued by his talent.”
Some scouts don’t know what to make of him. “Call him different,’’ Jazz vice president of player personnel Walter Perrin told The Post. “He has his own style — something Jerry instilled in his scouts. They sit away from people and keep to themselves. Jerry didn’t want his people talking to anybody. It gives them an opportunity to concentrate on what they’re there for.’’
When it comes to what Adam Simon, 44, has become, Heat President Pat Riley made that clear at his season-ending media session. “I can’t think of any other person in scouting or personnel that has put in the time that Adam has put in,” Riley said.
The resume, however, is real. He had pushed for the Heat to go for emerging Houston Rockets center Clint Capela when the Heat instead drafted Shabazz Napier in the first round of the 2014 draft. And he was among those instrumental in bringing Tyler Johnson to the Heat’s attention after the scrappy guard went undrafted in 2014 out of Fresno State.
Adam Simon: “I’ve been in cars traveling around Europe with Jerry West. I’ve sat and scouted games next to Larry Bird. Michael Jordan, I’ve sat with him. And, of course, the first time I met Pat in 1995, I was in awe. My colleagues, my peers, the people that I work with, it blows my mind that I’m in this position. I don’t take it for granted, but I feel comfortable in my ability to work with those gentlemen because of the time and the work I put in.”