Steve Clifford, head coach, New York City Knicks
On average, the highest-paid NBA coach is a head coach. Clifford came in and transformed the Knicks with the No. 2 pick in the 2004 NBA draft. He won the championship the following season — with a rookie of the year candidate by Carmelo Anthony.
What has been the most memorable thing you have learned about coaching?
That when you’re coaching, nothing is ever perfect. Nothing is ever going to work the way you think it should. If you keep doing things the way you did them when you were your position coach, it’s not going to result in winning. That’s the nature of the beast. It’s going to take a lot to get better.
Who does Steve Clifford need most help with?
He needs an offensive coordinator and a point guard. I mean, for sure. But there’s going to be some stuff he’s got to figure out and a lot to figure out that he has to work on with guys he doesn’t know. That’s the nature of the position. At the same time, you have a lot to learn. You know that stuff. You’ve always been at the top of the game and you got to get better with that. So to have a coach like me come in and say it’s a very talented group of guys, all of whom are doing things very well and trying to learn the game from them and not just being at the bottom of the pack, that’s what I’m most looking forward to about working with him.
What else has Steve Clifford learned about coaching in his 10 years in the league?
Nothing really. I mean, it’s the nature of it. That’s what got him to the top of the game. You got that much talent — from a rookie to an All-Star. What else do you want?
Who is Steve Clifford’s best player?
My answer’s no one. I just can’t do it for Steve. I’d get there in a heartbeat though.
Was there anything Steve Clifford didn’t do as an NBA coach you would like changed as a coach?
I mean, I think the one big thing that we could have done to have a couple things worked on was just give guys the kind of opportunities they need to get better in the game. It doesn’t necessarily happen on its own. It all leads there. You know, the NBA system that they play and the NBA system that
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