During his tenure as president of the Knicks, Phil Jackson hasn’t made a name for himself as the most progressive thinker. He’s stubbornly clung to the idea of the increasingly-anachronistic Triangle Offensive, rescued Sasha Vujacic from European exile, signed a slew of players well past their primes to long-term contracts, and bemoaned the league’s over-reliance on outside shooting. But perhaps a few years buried at the bottom of the Eastern Conference trash heap have helped him see the light, or at least a distant flicker.
For the second-straight season, the Hall of Fame coach agreed to a series of sitdowns with Charley Rosen of Today’s FastBreak, dubbed “The Phil Jackson Chronicles,” and the 11-time NBA champ had some interesting, if not conflicting, rule changes in mind that he believes might help the game. Here’s what he had to say when he spoke to Rosen during training camp last fall:
“Why not have a four-point line about 35 feet out? It wouldn’t be long before players will get reasonably comfortable shooting from out there. And having a four-point line would certainly serve to enable teams to catch up in what are now blowout games.”
In addition, Jackson supports adding six seconds to the shot clock: “This would give offenses more time to get low-post players involved, make defenses work harder, and encourage more passing and player movement.”
So just as quickly as you thought Phil was joining the 21st century, he takes a giant step back into the Dark Ages. Adding a four-point line would be almost irrelevant if you grind the NBA to a halt by making it more like the college game. Indeed, the type of long-range shooting that’s so en vogue right now is a big part of what makes the game so exciting, but an emphasis on speed and a departure from traditional post play have both been major catalysts for that as well.