Culture of Hoops

George Karl: Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson won’t mix

Image courtesy of Jose Martinez/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Jose Martinez/Flickr.

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton. Check it often and absorb the knowledge we’re dropping on you!

Few know Carmelo Anthony as well as George Karl does.

And Melo’s former coach wonders if Phil Jackson would keep Anthony if the Zen Master takes over the Knicks’ front office. ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd asked Karl if the Knicks keep Anthony while discussing Jackson potentially taking over the Knicks.

“To me, when you ask me that question, I don’t think Melo is a Phil Jackson type of player,” Karl said on “The Herd.” “That would be my answer to that.”

Karl, who coached Anthony from 2005-11, says Anthony is just one of many major decisions Jackson would have to make if he joins the Knicks. Cowherd asked Karl if Anthony and Kobe Bryant have similar traits as prolific scorers.

“Yeah, but Kobe has an ability to lift a team on his shoulders on a yearly basis, [on] the playoff basis,” Karl said. “Melo has done it over three months or four months. He will be the best player in basketball for six weeks. Kobe has been the best player in basketball for all year and been the best player in basketball in a playoff series, in a championship, winning a championship ring.

“There’s a little difference there,” Karl continued. “There is a different stage of regular season and playoffs. [But] Kobe at times has selfish basketball play and has a tough ego and attitude to handle.” ESPN

Yeah, George Karl is not bias at all and he also has no ax to grind. 

Explanations that revolve around attitude and non-tangible talking points such as “ability to lift a team on his shoulders” don’t mean anything. Part of player development is about factors outside of their control. For example, if Allen Iverson was drafted by the Lakers and Kobe Bryant was drafted by the 76ers with the same management in place, who knows what happens. Would anyone say Bryant consistently lifted the team on his shoulders with a core of Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, Matt Geiger and Tyrone Hill? 

The Knicks had the same core with additional talent at the start of the year, but the results have been drastically different. This has little to do with Anthony. It’s understandable that stories are driven by narrative but George Karl knows better. – AL

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