Mike Dunleavy Sr. acknowledges that he’s probably on the “outside” looking in when it comes to the Knicks coaching search. But he still believes he has a good shot at landing the job, partially due to his knowledge of the triangle offense.
“I hope so,” he said earlier this week on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” “One of the things for me, as a player, I played in the triangle system down in Houston. It was kind of left over from when Tex Winter coached there. All my teams, I’ve run it for us as a transition set for us. Like, ‘Hey on misses we’re going to run out of this into the triangle.' And part of that was also the fact that I was thinking at some point in the playoffs we’re going to run into Phil’s teams. And by the time we get there my guys will know the triangle very well to be prepared to play them. So maybe I’m the outside guy from the other guys that he’ll talk to: former players for him who have played in the system and other guys who have coached under him in the system. But at least I do know the system.”
Dunleavy Sr. talked to Jackson last week about the coaching job, sources confirmed to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. A source told Broussard that Dunleavy is not at the top of Jackson's list, but is indeed a candidate.
Dunleavy, who has coached four NBA teams over 17 years, is also a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' open job.
Jackson would prefer a younger coach who he can mold in the same manner that Pat Riley developed Erik Spoelstra in Miami, sources have told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.
So Dunleavy doesn’t fit that mold, which is why he himself acknowledged that he’s an “outside guy.” But Dunleavy and Jackson have a relationship having coached against one another for years. According to Broussard, the two stayed in touch frequently while both were in Los Angeles.
Dunleavy told Cowherd that he thinks Jackson will “gravitate” toward running the triangle but that there is room for the pick and roll and other traditional basketball sets in Jackson’s playbook.
“Even for Phil’s teams, late in games, a lot of times, he ran his plays “52” “53” which is Kobe Bryant pick and roll or Michael Jordan. Or “32, 33” elbow catches for Pippen and Jordan. So he mixes other things into the triangle as well,” Dunleavy said. “As a point of reference or basic flow offense, it’s a great offense.”
Dunleavy admitted to being a little surprised that guys without coaching experience such as Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher were considered leading candidates (at different times) for the Knicks job.
"A little bit, sometimes," Dunleavy said when asked if he was surprised by the influx of inexperienced coaching candidates. "But again, guys who are point guards are the closest thing to being coaches on the floor. So it depends on what your expectations are of those guys. Typically I still think there is a learning curve. And the other tough thing, of course, is depending on what market you’re starting out in media-wise and how tough that might be. So it just depends. If you’re going into a program where they say we’re going to give you a couple years to have that learning curve that maybe you would have gotten if you were an assistant coach some place, you make mistakes on the run, that type of thing. It depends on the expectations and what you’re supposed to deliver in your first year."
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