In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with Ken Berger, the CBSSports.com senior NBA writer talks Phil Jackson's possible return, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's shortcuts, and New Year's resolutions. You can follow Ken on Twitter at @KBergCBS.
1. You reported that Phil Jackson is "definitely interested" in the Nets job, Thursday night. How do you feel about the idea of the Nets, with their marketing, history, this new persona, being the last team Phil Jackson ever coaches? (We're obviously a long way from that.)
KB: It would be weird, but cathartic in a way for Nets fans, who remember how close Phil was to coaching the team once before, in what seems like a lifetime ago. I don't really have any other thoughts on it. If he coaches the Nets, I'll attend as many of his media availabilities as possible, jot down his witticisms and Phil-isms and go on about my merry way. If not, that's fine, too.
2. It's ironic to me that someone from Russia, with a history rife with suffering and brutally hard work, would try to skip as many steps in the process as Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Can he really buy his way into greatness?
KB: No, he can't. That's why it was so absurd for him to place the expectations so high (conference finals) before the season. You have to build, you have to gradually get better each year (Clippers are a good example) and eventually you break through -- or you don't. You can't skip those steps. There are no shortcuts. Not even hiring Phil Jackson can speed up the process.
3. You wrote about how great the Clippers looked Thursday night. I'm starting to ask myself it this team looks as good as the Mavericks did in November of 2010 before they won the title. Thoughts?
KB: Maybe better. The Mavs' 12-game winning streak that spanned November and December that season came against better competition (Thunder, Spurs, Heat, etc.). But the Clippers seem to have developed a winning formula and personality built on defense and forcing turnovers, which fuels their devastating transition game. It's a formula that will stand the test of time. The Mavs were a little too reliant on the jump shot. The Clippers don't need to shoot the ball well to win.
4. Visiting with my in-laws, they were really receptive to the idea of limiting timeouts in the final three minutes of a game, something that's been bandied about. The final minutes of an NBA game are brutal for a casual fan with all the stoppage in play. Most NBA players know what sets they're running and how to defend them even without a timeout. Do you like that idea as a way to speed up the game?
KB: Since the NBA is so infatuated with FIBA and FIBA rules, maybe looking to that model would be helpful. Games at the Olympics fly by in an hour-and-a-half or so. It's glorious; it makes the game better and more enjoyable to watch. But it's horrible for writing about the sport on deadline, and as long as TV commercials pay everyone's bills, timeouts are here to stay.
5. Cliche holiday-oriented question, Ken. What's your New Year's resolution(s)? Mine's to stop asking holiday-oriented cliche questions.
KB: Watch more college games.