Phil Jackson Biographer: Carmelo Anthony Could Have Been 'Jordan'

John Healy
May 17, 2020 - 1:12 pm

ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ depicts a rosy relationship between Michael Jordan and head coach Phil Jackson – whose triangle offense helped elevate the Chicago Bulls into one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.

If only Carmelo Anthony could have embraced Jackson in New York the way Jordan did in Chicago.

According to Jackson’s biographer, Charley Rosen, had Anthony embraced the triangle offense while with the Knicks, he would “be Michael Jordan.”

If Carmelo would’ve run the triangle, he’d be open on the weakside,” Rosen told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He’d have to pass and this and run around, but he’d ultimately have a whole side wide open – 16-17 feet away from the basket. The defense would be too far away to double.

“He’d have open jump shots and was one or two dribbles from the basket. He’d be a killer. He’d be Michael Jordan. He’d be unstoppable. But Melo was catch and shoot and didn’t want to do other things.”

Jackson, of course, was the Knicks president, but made sure to hire a head coach to run the triangle.

“People have to understand Jordan, [Scottie] Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe [Bryant] – all the years those guys were together in the NBA – never won anything until Phil,” Rosed said. “He took those four guys to the next level. And he did it because of the triangle.

Rosen, who pleaded with Jackson not to take the Knicks job, added that in addition to Anthony not buying into the triangle, he did not have the right coaches, either, in Derek Fisher or Jeff Hornacek.

“Hiring Derek Fisher was a mistake for a lot of reasons,” Rosen said. “He wasn’t ready. And there was a division in the coaching staff between Derek’s OKC guys and Phil’s guys. Fisher’s guys didn’t want anything to do with them.”

Rosen added that Hornacek just never really knew the triangle despite saying he did.

Jackson’s tenure as team president last just three years, ending in the summer of 2017.

“They didn’t give him enough time,” Rosen said. “You can’t turn chickens—t into chicken salad in three years.”