Patrick Ewing was one of the greatest centers of his time and is without question the best player to suit up for the New York Knicks in the last 30 years. Naturally, the Charlotte Hornets top assistant coach under head coach Steve Clifford would love the opportunity to become the next head coach of the Knicks organization.
Ewing has been an NBA assistant for the last 13 years on several staffs including Jeff Van Gundy's with the Houston Rockets and now Clifford's in Charlotte. Despite being a Hall of Fame player and having over a decade of NBA coaching experience, Ewing still has not gotten his opportunity to lead an NBA team from the sidelines.
He told ESPN on Wednesday night after beating the Knicks 111-97 at Madison Square Garden, "You know, this is a great fit for me. I have my number up there [in the Garden rafters]. I still live in the area. If I get an opportunity for an interview, I'd be happy."
While the Madison Square Garden faithful would applaud the return of Ewing to New York City, it seems that Knicks president Phil Jackson prefers to keep his Triangle Offense protegé and Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis in place for next season and beyond. Jackson already swung and missed with Triangle disciple and failed first-time head coach Derek Fisher, who the Knicks fired in February.
Is Ewing qualified to lead the Knicks as head coach in 2016-17? It seems so, as he has emerged as one of the game's top assistants stemming from the Van Gundy coaching tree. While the Van Gundy tree is more rooted in defensive tenacity than Jackson's antiquated offensive approach, the Knicks organization would be foolish to not give Ewing, at least, an interview for the job this summer.