Patrick Ewing was never one to be laid back or patient as a player for the New York Knicks, but his search for a head coaching job has forced him to be just that. At this point, Knicks fans have to be just as disappointed as he is.
While guys like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd continue to snatch up jobs without any prior experience, Ewing has been forced to fend for his own. The common perception is that a point guard makes for the best leader, but in reality, a team takes on the personality of its coach regardless of whether or not they have any competitive basketball playing experience at all.
On the court, Ewing’s demeanor was as intense as it gets. He may not have had the high offensive IQ that the aforementioned point guard coaches did, but at the same time, there’s no way those guys could quarterback a defense the way that Ewing was able to. There are always assistant coaches around to draw up a tricky inbounds play or two throughout the game, but not many people can run a defense and demand your best like Pat. You’d have to imagine that his team’s style would be rugged and physical, much like Pat Riley’s Knicks in the 90′s. That toughness is something that has been missing from today’s game for quite some time.
Most love to credit Hakeem Olajuwon for making Dwight Howard the player he is today, but don’t forget it was Ewing who got his hands on today’s best center first. Ewing turned a raw 19-year old in to the league’s best rebounder and defender at his position, and while part of that can be attributed to Howard’s above average athleticism, the foundation that Ewing laid for him can’t be simply ignored.
Ewing has been named as the Charlotte Bobcats associate head coach, another step towards furthering his coaching career. Still, until a few days ago, we all had know idea what exactly that entails. In Charlotte, Ewing will be holding accountability for the Bobcats defense, a tall task for even the most experienced coaches. He had previously been offered a head coaching for the Erie Bayhawks, the Knicks D-League affiliate, but he turned it down in hopes of landing an NBA gig.
The slice of humble pie that Ewing has had to eat while waiting this process out will no doubt make landing that first job that much sweeter. At the very least he deserves an interview. For sure, we here at TOK will be rooting for him along the whole way. If he proved anything to Knicks fans, it’s that he is incredibly resilient.