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Phil Jackson: Brooklyn Nets Job Is Too Big a Challenge to Appeal to Zen Master

May 8, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson leaves the court at the end of game four against the Dallas Mavericks for the second round of the 2011 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavs beat the Lakers 122-86.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 3, 2016

Phil Jackson likes ready-made situations. Despite Marc Stein's tweet that the Brooklyn Nets would be interested in hiring the Zen Master to replace the recently fired Avery Johnson (New York Times), it'll never happen:

According to NBA coaching source, Nets launching broad search that will include call to Phil Jackson to gauge Phil's interest in Brooklyn

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 27, 2012

The only appeal the job figures to have for Jackson is the New York connection, but this team is void of the qualities Jackson generally wants to take on.

The Nets are not a group that Jackson simply has to get over the hump.

They don't have a defensive presence on the inside, and they don't have wings that can consistently get to the free-throw line. Opponents are shooting 46 percent from the field against the Nets, and they are only 11th in the NBA in free-throw attempts.

Those are two vital areas and two staples of past championship-level teams under Jackson. Jackson's Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers always protected the paint and they always got to the free-throw line. 

Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley were underrated interior defenders. Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol helped to anchor their Lakers teams' defense. Shaq, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen made sure Jackson's teams spent their share of time on the charity stripe.

The biggest names of the aforementioned group also bring up another key reason Jackson won't be interested in the Nets job.

These players represent star power that the Nets can't emulate. Established and respected superstars make any coach's job easier, but this is especially the case for a coach like Jackson.

He's 67 years old and he has had some health issues. He needs a strong leader to be a coach on the floor and a culture driver. The Nets don't have that.

Deron Williams is one of the top five point guards in the NBA, and Joe Johnson is a quality scorer, but no one will mistake them for Jordan and Pippen, Kobe and Shaq, or Kobe and Pau. Every team Jackson has coached had the key pieces in place when he got there.

He has never had to take over a team that was as far away from title contention as the Nets. He certainly won't be interested in doing that in his late 60s.

Not even Brooklyn's bright lights and the appeal of the beautiful Barclays Center will be enough to entice him.

 

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