Whatever debate there was about Phil Jackson’s ability to institute a culture change is over. He did it could have foreseen.
J.R. Smith has seen the light.
“Trying to consider the rest of the team 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 score, [now I’m] able to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates succeed over myself, I think 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 purchase into the equal-opportunity tenets of the triangle offense is enormous, and everything after that–figuring out how to coax defense out of a frontcourt rotation between Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire, compelling James Dolan to keep kazoos out of this locker room–should be cake.
The Knicks aren’t so far removed from a season in 2012-13. Jackson’s influence ought to help them get closer to this total than the 37 wins season was amassed by them.
Don’t expect a championship chase–not until the contracts on the books slough off in 2015 and Carmelo Anthony understands some actual assistance.
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