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Tag: Detroit Pistons

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Is Phil Jackson on The Comeback Trail?

Widely regarded as the greatest coach in NBA history, with 11 titles to his name with MJ’s Bulls in the 90’s and Kobe’s Lakers in the 00’s, Phil Jackson’s NBA status is nothing short of legendary. Throughout his tenure as coach of two of the greatest dynasties in league history, Jackson remained an ever constant subject through both glory and despair, with his teams enjoying shining victories and humiliating defeats. His ever watchful, compassionate presence was to players as a father is to a son. Caring, nurturing and understanding whilst always ensuring lessons were being learned every day. Jackson’s success, as he claims, doesn’t stem simply from talent, but from the ability to connect with the people around him on a level unseen to the outside world. This why his nickname, The Zen Master, is synonymous with who he really is. A believer in accepting and understanding your surrounds, and not just focusing on oneself.

This is Phil’s pursuit of success and happiness, and one he’s been able to pass down to several of the NBA’s greatest ever players throughout the years.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Phil’s journey since leaving the Lakers in 2011 has been a rocky one. Dealing with his own illness, while being by his fiance Jeanie Buss’ side throughout her dear father, Dr Jerry Buss’ sickness and eventual death, and a potential new contract with the Lakers which for reasons largely unknown fell apart at the last minute. After retiring from NBA coaching, it’s hard to imagine Phil would’ve been subjected to the drama he’s seen since being swept by the eventual Champion Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Playoffs. Yet here he is. Not only a celebrity in his own right, but still a very much sought after asset for every team in the NBA. A part of Phil must relish the spotlight, and one team has created a new opportunity for him to be a part of it. The team with which he began his NBA journey. The New York Knicks.

It has been written to death for a week now, by a thousand NBA writers, that the Knicks have extended a big offer to Phil Jackson which they are hoping will help propel them into the next era of New York basketball, and provide them with a new lease on life. It’s no secret that the biggest market in the NBA has been one of the great disappointments in the league for many years, with millions of fans being let down year after year because of poor decisions and bad financial management. Now more than ever, with a new team across the river in Brooklyn, it is important for the Knicks to start becoming a regular threat in the playoffs. No one is scared of the Knickerbockers, and they haven’t been for a long time. Can Phil Jackson change that fact? It’s a long shot, but one most Knick fans would agree is a chance they are willing to take. With several bad contracts on the books, no draft picks and a disgruntled superstar’s free agency looming, things are looking grim for the immediate future of this franchise.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

What Jackson will do is encourage stars to sign with the Knicks in the future. It’s a well documented fact that he’s a fan of superstars, as they are him, and as it stands, there is little the Knicks have to garner the attention of players that they want to sign. The Carmelo Anthony factor is a big one for the Knicks, and now that the trade deadline has passed, they are banking on his re-signing come free agency. Should Jackson take the job, it will go a long way in helping ensure his signature stays in Manhattan. Be it the right move or not it is what the Knicks, and their fans, desperately want.

Jackson seemingly is ready to make his move and re-enter the NBA stratosphere. After the failed attempt to get back to coaching during last season’s tumultuous events in Los Angeles, it was expected he would resign to the fact he would never coach in the NBA again, even putting a fork in it himself at one stage. The decision by the Lakers to hire former Suns/Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni angered many involved with the Lakers including fans, players and even a Buss herself. Jeanie has since explained her distaste at her brother Jim’s decision to hire D’Antoni over Phil, but speculation also continues to circle that it was indeed her late father Jerry who decided against re-hiring Jackson. It’s neither here nor there, and the truth will probably never be known. All we do know, is that Phil Jackson was ready to coach the Los Angeles Lakers last season, and was snubbed. One could argue that snub not only upset Phil (he would argue it didn’t), but also motivated him even more.

Since the Knicks first extended an offer, the stories have been running rampant about whether Phil will indeed accept the job, or fall by the wayside once again. It has been said that Jackson wants full control of basketball decisions. It’s also been written that he wants to coach too. All this along with a huge asking price. Speculation of course, but similar terms were said to be in play during negotiations with the Lakers a little over a year ago. Whatever the price, you can be sure the Knicks would be happy to entertain him until he gives them an answer. Would Phil be successful in a front office role? It’s hard to say, but he was influential in the hiring of the now fired Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks last off season, after he extended his hand to the Pistons in the decision making process. Hardly a lynchpin by which to judge his future successes or failures, but an interesting point nonetheless.

Image Courtesy of FoxSports.com

Image Courtesy of FoxSports.com

Phil’s interest in the NBA since retiring is indicative of his everlasting love of the game, and an example of how hard it can be to let go. Wise move or not, Phil Jackson wants back in the NBA, and the Knicks are providing him with that opportunity. Whether he takes it or not, is a whole other story. Can his attitude towards basketball and life in general be an asset to the struggling Knicks, or will it make no difference at all? These questions are worth pondering, and you can be sure Jackson will be doing just that, but the simple fact he is even considering it tells us all we need to know. The Zen Master is ready to make his return. Which team is lucky enough to accommodate it, remains to be seen.

As mentioned earlier, Phil Jackson’s view on life and all it holds is incredibly important to him, and in turn the decision making process. You can be sure that his eventual reconciliation will not only revolve around himself, but also his family, his friends, the players he’ll work with, colleagues and probably even the weather. Being in touch with who he is, and surrounding himself with who and what he needs to be successful is probably the most difficult aspect of any choice he eventually makes.

We’ll keep you updated with any developments.



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Detroit Pistons Fire Head Coach Mo Cheeks

After a disappointing first half to the 2013/14 NBA season, the Pistons have fired coach Maurice Cheeks just 50 games into his first season with the team, reported Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski this morning. Half a game back from a playoff spot in a under performing eastern conference, Detroit made big moves in the offseason to ensure themselves a legitimate shot a a playoff berth in 2014 and so far, it hasn’t payed off. New signings Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith (whom, together, the Pistons have invested over $80 million in) have both struggled to make a consistent contribution, while big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe continue to impress as two of the league’s revered bigs. While this may be the case, it hasn’t helped the Pistons cause in the long run and their record reflects a team who has given up, and no longer has the desire to play for their coach. Unfortunately for Cheeks, management have decided his tenure must end for the team to move forward in a positive light.

“It’s frustrating because we’re better than our record,” Pistons owner Tom Gores told Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News earlier today. “I see a lot of possibilities; we have to come together, we have to jell. I don’t think you can say our team and players don’t work hard. We just have to figure out how to work together.”

Several reporters have today said that former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who was axed by the team this past off season, may be in line for the job after expressive a deep desire to continue coaching in the NBA. It’s a wise move for Detroit, given Hollins’ record with Memphis proved him to be more than capable of guiding a team deep into the playoffs, making it through to the Western Conference finals in his last year there. A strong willed players coach, Hollins would provide a much needed boost and revitalization for a locker room that is clearly in desperate need of true leadership.

 



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Keeping A Close Eye On You!

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While the title of this feature may sound a little creepy, stick with me, this isn’t me declaring my stalker habits. Far from it.

With the new season just around the corner, I get to thinking about the players that I would be keen to follow and watch closely. Obviously most fans will be eager to see if LeBron can win his 3rd ring, or Durant can bring his Thunder back into genuinely challenging for the Championship again. My players to watch list looks a little different from the norm. I’m keen to see players who sit underneath that ‘Superstar’ banner, the players who to some fans may even think aren’t that great at all. Personally I like to see progression in players who obviously work hard at their game. Now, enough of the rambling let’s get to it…

Jeremy Lin – Houston Rockets

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An Australian Sports Guide to the NBA pt. 1

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So I was sitting with my housemate the other day and we were brainstorming about what I could write for the site when he suggested this idea. Basically what we’ve done is taken Australian sporting teams from a variety of codes and given you the NBA team that we think they are most suitably matched with.

I’ll be releasing it in four parts over the next four weeks and this, ladies and gents, is the first instalment.

So without further ado.

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Pistons Acquire Jennings in Sign and Trade with Milwaukee

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The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a sign and trade which will see guard Brandon Jennings head to the Detroit Pistons on a 3-year, $24 million deal, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports this morning. As part of the trade the Pistons will send Brandon Knight to Milwaukee along with Slava Kravtsov and forward Khris Middleton. Jennings, who shot a touch under 40% last season for the Bucks has long been searching for a contract which would guarantee him big money and a leading role, but so far had not been able to land a deal and it was becoming more likely that he would remain with Milwaukee will at least the end of the 2013/14 season.

The Pistons, who recently added forward Josh Smith to the roster, will be looking for Brandon Jennings to improve his efficiency after giving him about $4 million under what the point guard was asking. They’ll likely play him at shooting guard due to the signing of Chauncey Billups earlier in free agency, with the remainder of the starting lineup consisting of Josh Smith at small forward, Greg Monroe at power forward and Andre Drummond anchoring the paint. The bench is also rounded out by the inclusion of Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and rookie Peyton Siva.

Brandon Jennings averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists in 80 games for the Bucks last season.

Nick C.



Back To Back

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It’s always a tough ask to win an NBA title but it’s even tougher to back it up and win the following year. Every team is gunning for you, wanting to beat the top dog and you never get an easy game. So with the Miami Heat winning their second consecutive championship this week, I thought we would have a look back at some of the NBA’s other back to back title winning teams.

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LOTTERY PREDICTIONS: 1-14

NBA DRAFT

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London Hosts The NBA Tomorrow (Knicks V. Pistons)

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The NBA returns to the UK as the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons battle it out at London’s O2 Arena! It’s the third regular season game trip the NBA has made to the country and it has always been a raging success. The Knicks are taking the East by storm, while the Pistons are still struggling to find some sort of relevance throughout a rebuilding period, but nonetheless it should go a long way in helping to showcase the game to fans in the UK. It’s a great expansion idea from the NBA’s marketing team who no doubt have high hopes that they can grow the game outside of North America.  Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler will return to the city where just months ago they claimed the gold medal and the 2012 London Olympics, and the Knicks will also welcome guard Iman  Shumpert back into the lineup. With no tickets left, the average asking price for the event online is a whopping 335.23 pounds! That’s about $508 Australian.

The game will be available for all NBA TV League Pass Subscribers live at 7AM Friday morning (AUS)

Now, when’s the NBA coming to Sydney?



NBA Nation Australia’s Preseason Previews: Part 4

Every day brings us closer to the new NBA season and we are all waiting with baited breath to see our teams run out on the pine in a few weeks time. During the lead up we’ve been updating you with our 2012/13 preseason team previews! Today, we take a brief look at the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and the two sides in Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers.

Let’s get into it!

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