The New York Knicks are turning things around, but the defense is still a work in progress. Could Mark Jackson help the Knicks as an assistant coach or consultant?
The 2016-17 New York Knicks are in a situation similar to what happened in 2011. The team has a decent offense, but has a poor defense. The Knicks are giving up 105.9 points per game to opposing teams.
Mark Jackson is a former head coach who may improve the team’s defense if brought in as an assistant or consultant to Jeff Hornacek.
The Knicks hired Mike Woodson, a former head coach, as an assistant to improve the team’s defense for the 2011-12 season. He is and was a defensive-minded coach. During the 2010-11 season, the Knicks gave up 105.7 points per game.
Woodson was able to cut that number to 94.7 points per game during his first season as an assistant in New York.
Jackson was hired to be the Golden State Warriors’ head coach in 2011. In 2012-13, Jackson led the Warriors to their first playoff appearance since 2006-07 and upset the third-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round.
Jackson made defensive improvements every season he coached. The Warriors improved in points allowed per game every season. Part of the reason was because the team was able to obtain the right defensive players.
Initially, the Warriors didn’t have an established rim protector or an established perimeter defender. It wasn’t until 2013-14 that Jackson had such players on his roster (i.e. Andre Igoudala and Andrew Bogut).
The Warriors were ranked No. 10 in points allowed per game when Jackson had Igoudala and Bogut on the team in 2013-14.
The Warriors were great at defending the 3-ball. Under Jackson, they ranked in the Top 10 in opponent 3-point field goal percentage in both 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The Knicks are currently ranked No. 24 in opponent 3-point field goal percentage.
Jackson was able to utilize the defensive talent he had on his team and made the most of it. While the Knicks don’t have Igoudala and Bogut, the team does possess a quality perimeter defender and a quality rim protector with Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah.
Mark Jackson was one of the many candidates rumored for the Knicks’ vacant head coaching position earlier this year. Phil Jackson reportedly reached out to the former Warriors coach during the hiring process.
Jeff Hornacek was ultimately hired to fill the position.
Hornacek recently appointed Kurt Rambis to lead the team’s defense. After holding the Mavericks to 77 points, the Knicks allowed 102 points by the Detroit Pistons, 117 by the Washington Wizards, 94 by the Atlanta Hawks, and 103 by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Although the results have improved, the sample size is small and things could still be better on defense. Expect a change if the defense doesn’t improve as the seasons goes on.
As for Jackson, this would give him a chance to get his name back in the coaching world by leading a defensive turnaround in a major market.