MSG Network’s Al Trautwig interviewed Knicks president Phil Jackson during the first quarter of Tuesday night’s game against the Wizards about the firing of coach Derek Fisher Monday and other matters.
Jackson said he does not expect an overnight change in the struggling team, adding the short-term goal is simply to “get ourselves going. We’ve been having trouble activating ourselves early in the ballgame.”
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What advice had he given to interim coach Kurt Rambis? “Well, just basically get them back on the court and get them playing together.”
Trautwig asked Jackson what point he was trying to get across in the essay he posted on Twitter earlier Tuesday about what he looks for in a coach.
Said Jackson, “There’s a style that I’m looking for in coaches and in how you approach your players and it makes sense, because I have a certain parameter of things that I believe and those things are sensible to me, about taking care of your players and how to take care of an individual, and part of it is players are looking to fulfill themselves and that’s our job, to nurture that as coaches.
“The other thing is about the leadership style . . . There are some styles that are different. I like the style that’s a little more group-oriented. Not to say anything about Derek. He was part of my coaching teams for a number years. So he understands that. But it just says something about the way that we plan to play basketball, the way we want to look.”
Asked whether too much has been made of Jackson’s commitment to the triangle offense, he said, “It’s a system. It’s about having a system of play. A team needs to be able to go down the court, try and get a transition, operate out of whatever they operate, post up, screen and roll, and in the end result they need to have a format to play under.
“Maybe play 18 seconds and the last eight seconds or six seconds you’re on the floor there’s a format that you know. So you get back on defense, you get offensive rebounding patterns. Those are givens. So that’s important.”
What does he think of the development of rookie Kristaps Porzingis?
“Well, Kristaps is one of the guys that I think was fatigued during the season. I think he really stopped getting push out of his game. He ended up taking shots that weren’t good shots but shots that were open . . . So we tried to get him back to doing the right things with his feet, making the right shots. The other night he was rather lackadaisical to start the game but he got real determined during the course of the game and made many shots in the second half.”
Might Knicks fans look forward to a big trade to improve the team in the short term? “Very slim opportunity for us to trade,” he said. “We’re looking for something. We’ll be open to it, but it’s not a pursuit.”