The New York Knicks (12-10) have actually had an okay season so far. Carmelo Anthony (22.4 points per game), Kristaps Porzingis (19.9) and Derrick Rose (16.7) have all played well, and the Knicks are threatening for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Which is why it seems odd that Phil Jackson would criticize Anthony this week, saying the ball sticks in his hands too long on offense. When Anthony was asked about Jackson’s comments, he was clearly annoyed.
It seems that Anthony, right now, can’t stand Phil, no?
“Melo hasn’t been able to stand him for a while,” HoopsCritic.com & Sirius XM NBA Radio host Brian Geltzeiler said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Melo is not a fan of him. I know that they like to float that Melo loves Phil. Melo doesn’t love Phil. Melo loves New York. Melo’s family is settled in New York, he loves playing for the Knicks, he loves the city, he doesn’t want to pull his kids from school, it’s a place where he’s comfortable, and he feels like ‘It’s New York. Let’s take a run at it and see what we can do. Phil Jackson’s who they gave me. Phil Jackson’s who I’ll deal with.’ But Phil has this terrible need to speak publicly to hear the sound of his own voice.”
Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, among others, have spoken glowingly about Jackson’s ability to motivate. Anthony may not agree.
“That message has fallen on deaf ears with Anthony,” Geltzeiler said. “And primarily because you can do certain things and say certain things when you are the coach; when you are the president of the team, the star player doesn’t want to hear from you through the media. He just doesn’t have an interest in it. Melo is one of the more media-friendly players in the entire league. Melo is wonderful with the New York media. He will sit there and answer question after question, and he knows the guys by name, knows the guys’ families – Carmelo is as good a guy as there is in the league. I can promise you that. What Phil is doing here – league-wide, people look at (it as) Phil Jackson is absolutely insane.”
Indeed, Jackson didn’t have to call out his best player. Or, at the very least, he could have done it in a more subtle or gentle or complimentary way. He didn’t.
“Everything is fine, Phil. That’s all you have to say,” Geltzeiler said. “Phil cannot stop stepping on his own tongue.”
The Knicks begin a five-game road trip in Sacramento (8-13) on Friday. Tip-off is at 10:30 p.m. ET.