After missing out on Steve Kerr, the New York Knicks remain on the lookout for a new head coach to take over next season.
New York has proven time and time again to be one of the toughest coaching environments in the NBA, and it may be difficult not only to sell this as a legitimate opportunity but also to find someone capable of turning the franchise around.
With that in mind, let's go through a mock "help wanted" advertisement, highlighting the specific skills needed in a potential coaching candidate.
Willing to Implement the Triangle Offense
Phil Jackson may not be physically able to coach a team for 82 games at this point in his career, but make no mistake that as president he'll want his famed offensive system implemented in some form by the new coach.
As far as this need goes, there's no one better for the job than one of Jackson's former players (like Derek Fisher), but knowing Jackson's teaching ability, outsiders might be welcome too if they're happy to learn an unfamiliar system.
This isn't a particularly big sacrifice given that the offense has helped Jackson to the tune of 11 rings, but candidates will need to swallow their pride, knowing they may have slightly less input on offense and may not be given full credit by the media for any success.
Able to Keep Immature Players in Line
The Knicks' roster isn't going to stay the same forever, but as it stands it's in need of a coach who can motivate and keep certain players focused on basketball.
J.R. Smith's antics need to be kept in check, and unlike Mike Woodson, the new coach should not hesitate to cut playing time if he doesn't cooperate.
Elsewhere, more apathetic players like Andrea Bargnani and Raymond Felton need to have a flame lit under them, while Iman Shumpert needs a shot of confidence.
It's unfair to put all this on a new head coach—bad attitudes are ultimately the responsibility of the player—but keeping them in line will go a long way toward making his tenure a success.
Despite the Knicks' record last season, there is a fair amount of talent on this roster, and there are no excuses for missing the playoffs next season unless some big changes do down this summer.
Any team in a weak conference with Carmelo Anthony leading the way should not miss the playoffs, especially not twice in a row.
Experienced in High-Pressure Situations
Past experience under pressure is a desirable skill for all NBA coaching spots, but in New York it's absolutely essential.
The Knicks need someone happy to work for an unpredictable owner like James Dolan, who won't be rattled by a diehard fanbase and who won't be worried by the inevitable comparisons with Phil Jackson down the line.
They'll also need to know that with every season that passes, the Knicks inch ever closer to 50 years without a title, a milestone no one wants to see them reach.
Anyone who's worked for a major franchise and understands the difficulties that come with that may be an option; it can be as a player, a coach or even an executive.
Most rumored candidates like Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and Derek Fisher fit the bill in that regard.
Respected Enough to Keep Carmelo Anthony in Town
Going for the big name doesn't always work out—the Knicks know that as well as anyone—but with Anthony hitting free agency, it would help to bring in a head coach respected enough to keep him in New York.
A history of success in college or ideally the NBA would be nice, but it's possible that a former player known for his leadership or someone who has worked with Melo in the past could fit.
Melo, his teammates and the Knicks' fans need someone they can put their faith in immediately, and without that their chances of succeeding fall considerably.
Simply being wanted by Jackson is a huge co-sign, but knowing that this is his Plan B, there has to be something else to the candidate that makes them stand out to Melo.
For example, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Anthony would welcome the opportunity to play with Mark Jackson, likely because of the strong, loyal relationship he built with his players at Golden State.
At this point in his career, Anthony doesn't have time for another bad hire—this coach needs to work out, and if he's to stay, Melo will need assurance in advance that that will be the case.
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