Whatever debate there has been about Phil Jackson’s ability to institute a culture shift in New York is over. He did it and could have possibly foreseen.
J.R. Smith has seen the light.
“Trying to consider the rest of the team over myself or my scoring is something which I never really had to do before,” Smith told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I’ve always been in a position to score, [now I am ] in position to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates succeed more than myself, I believe that’s the ultimate win.”
For the time being, it seems Jackson has performed magic, although transformations in the preseason have a way of reversing themselves as the year progresses.
Getting Smith to buy into 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 maintain kazoos from the locker room–must be cake.
The Knicks are not so far removed from a year in 2012-13. Jackson’s influence ought to help them get closer to that total compared to 37 wins they accumulated last year.
Still, don’t expect a championship chase–not before 2015 is sloughed off in by the contracts on the books and Carmelo Anthony gets some real help.
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