Kurt Rambis is getting another chance to coach an NBA team and it does beg the question about whether his two years Minnesota would have been different if the team has drafted Steph Curry in 2009 instead of saddling him with Jonny Flynn (or Wes Johnson instead of DeMarcus Cousins n 2010), not to mention rosters that also included Darko Milicic, Sebastian Telfair and the Amazing Anthonys (Randolph and Tolliver).
(Note: We've now used up our allotment of Curry-Flynn references for 2016. We'll fine ourselves -- swear-jar style -- for any violations.)
Rambis' No. 1 job right now is to find a way to pick up the 4 1/2 games in the standings that would vault the Knicks in the NBA playoffs. His cast this time includes Carmelo Anthony, when he's healthy, and Kristaps Porzingis, who will be the main competition to Karl-Anthony Towns for Rookie of the Year.
After the announcement that he was replacing the fired Derek Fisher, his 32 victories over two seasons with the Timberwolves merited hardly a mention with the New York media. Being hired by Phil Jackson instead of David Kahn can do that.
Still, we thought you'd like a sampling of what's being said about Rambis 2.0, good and not so good..
The New York Times reported that his road to the permanent job with the Knicks is likely a tough one. Andrew Keh wrote: "For fans on social media and professional commentators, though, the process of speculation began right away. There was Luke Walton, who thrived as temporary coach of the Golden State Warriors this season, compiling a 39-4 record while Steve Kerr was on medical leave. There was Tom Thibodeau, who was fired by the Chicago Bulls after years of success but does not have the same familiarity with Jackson’s systems.
"Jackson said that he was not currently looking for another coach and that did not have a list of candidates. He said it was nice to have an existing relationship with a coach but that it was not necessary. He said he had a certain style of doing things that he hoped any new coach would share.
“ 'We’ll find that type of person,' Jackson said."
In the New York Daily News, right next to a poll asking readers who the next coach should be, Rambis talked about the short term rather than the long term: “I’ve been around too long to have that hope. I’m gonna do the best job I can to finish out this year and get into the playoffs. That’s my goal, to get this team into the playoffs and then I’ll worry about things after we get as far as we can possibly get. But until that point, I’m not worried about it.”
Rambis was fourth in that poll as of Tuesday morning with 4 percent, tied with the recently fired David Blatt at 4 percent.
Bill Simmons doesn't exactly like the move.
In the 2010 season, Kurt Rambis gave Ryan Gomes more MPG than Kevin Love on a 15-win team. So... good luck NYK fans? https://t.co/CC5byHGrZs— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 8, 2016
Michael Pina of FOX Sports isn't a fan, either:
"The New York Knicks have lost nine of their last 10 games and are five games out of a playoff spot in the unpredictable Eastern Conference. But on Monday, they fired Derek Fisher as head coach, a surprising move that isn't necessarily right or wrong. What is wrong, definitively, is replacing him with Kurt Rambis."
And, finally, here's Rambis in the New York Post, talking about the importance of making the playoffs this season: “When I was a player and always when I was a coach, you’ve got a goal of making the playoffs. That’s not only for the benefit of the players… but also for the franchise. We’ve got to start sending the right message out in the free-agent world. You’ve got to send it with the fans.”
Making the playoffs as a message to fans and free agents? Both of those are foreign notions to Timberwolves fans. We're not prepared to consider Rambis' time in Minnesota any indication of what he may accomplish in New York.