Whatever debate there was about Phil Jackson’s capacity to institute a culture change is finished. He did it could have foreseen.
J.R. Smith has seen the light.
“Trying to consider the rest of the group over my scoring is something which I never actually had to do before,” Smith told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I’ve always been in a position to dent, [now I am ] able to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates triumph over myself, I think that is the ultimate triumph.”
For the time being, it seems Jackson has performed magic, although personal transformations in the preseason have a way of reversing themselves as the year progresses.
Getting Smith to purchase in the equal-opportunity tenets of this triangle offense is enormous, and everything after that–figuring out how to coax defense from a frontcourt rotation involving Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire, compelling James Dolan to keep kazoos from the locker room–should be cake.
The Knicks are far removed from a season in 2012-13. Jackson’s influence alone ought to help them get closer to this total compared to 37 wins they amassed season.
Don’t expect a championship chase–maybe not until 2015 is sloughed off in by the contracts on the books and Carmelo Anthony gets some assistance.
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