To consider that the Knicks have interviewed 10 candidates in relation to their head coaching vacancy can be an overwhelming thought. With a wide variety of candidates having spoken to New York’s front office braintrust, it may be difficult to hone in on the type of coach they are hoping to reel in. The reported candidates have differing backgrounds, so what’s the catch? What are the Knicks looking for?
For starters, they could be looking to learn. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2012-13 campaign, employing three different front office regimes since then. With each passing vision for success, a plethora of players and coaches have been ushered in and out New York’s revolving door in order to find the right mix. Needless to say, the team needs all the help it can get.
That’s why Steve Mills and Scott Perry are taking their time with this coaching search. On one hand, patience is good because it discourages any knee-jerk reactions or the second-guessing of any subsequent decisions. Due diligence is taking place. What’s more, whereas the Knicks may indeed have their internal front-runners (the likes of Mike Budenholzer, David Fizdale, and David Blatt among them), it’s healthy to pick the brains of members of winning environments as well. Juwan Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, remaining with the organization as a player (now coach) since the 2010-11 campaign. James Borrego has a decade of experience (through two different stints) serving as Gregg Popovich’s assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. Jay Larrañaga has stepped up as the Boston Celtics’ lead assistant coach as the team has ascended into one of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs.
These are just a few examples, but it’s clear New York could learn a ton from picking the brains of these individuals. How do their respective teams cultivate success? Based on what these assistants have learned, how would they strategize to help the Knicks win? What would they do differently than New York has done so far? Given the contrast of success and failure, it’s safe to say there’s plenty of room for growth and different ideas — the Knicks just need to be open to it.
Considering the wide reach of this coaching search, the front office seems to understand the value in talking to an array of candidates. It’s not a coincidence that they all stem from some sort of winning environment. What’s more, speaking with more individuals now better prepares the team to bounce back more efficiently, if they happen to miss and must look for another head coach in the near future.
The head coaching spot is in the team’s top vacancy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be envisioning some of these coaches working together. Could Borrego join fellow former Spurs assistant Budenholzer on the Knicks’ bench? Could former Heat assistants Fizdale and Howard join forces in the Big Apple?
That remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s good to see the front office be so dedicated to talking with winning personalities, because the possibilities for success then become much greater.