New York Knicks‘ Phil Jackson was hired to turn things around, but it’s been one blunder after another. Derrick Rose is the latest example.
Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans was a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with Phil Jackson’s New York Knicks. They were blown out by a bad team at home (Jackson’s record as an exec slipped to 66-136), and their starting point guard was MIA.
All of the blame should be placed at Jackson’s feet. He can hide from the media all he wants, but this is on him. The legendary coach put together a failing roster that is approaching Isiah Thomas era levels of discontent. Yes, I said Isiah Thomas.
It’s been nearly three years since Phil Jackson brought his triangle offense circus to New York and fleeced James Dolan out of $60 million with an empty promise to deliver a winning team. Instead of building something special Jackson has been offensive, arrogant, stubborn, petty, and an overall embarrassment. It’s hard to remember that there was hope at one point.
When rumors began surfacing that the Zen Master was in contact with the Knicks about taking the reigns of his former team, the reaction was mixed. Jackson won two championships in New York as a player and eleven as a coach in Los Angeles and Chicago, but as an executive, he was a novice. Naturally, there was cause for concern.
Phil arrived in the Big Apple as a legend with pomp and circumstance called in to attempt to right the wrongs of the mortals who came before him. The championship head coach was hired to bring the same results as an executive.
He wasn’t going to be afforded the luxury of on the job training like others in his position, so he had to move fast. His first move was to exile head coach Mike Woodson and all of his assistants.
Jackson made things difficult on himself when he decided to team up with Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach, after his first choice Steve Kerr opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Fisher played for Jackson and knew the triangle offense that was force-fed to the team during the 17-win 2014-15 season.
When Fisher dared to drift away from the principles of the triangle last season he was canned. Jackson couldn’t ignore his former protege’s off the court incident with Matt Barnes or that the Knicks lost 9 of 10 games which moved them out of playoff contention. Fisher and Phil obviously had a falling out somewhere along the line.
The Phil Jackson name was supposed to attract the top free agents (remember that pipe dream?), but the only high profile player he’s been able to woo in free agency was the old and superfluous Joakim Noah.
If Kristaps Porzingis didn’t fall into his lap, Jackson might be out of a job right now. It was hard to praise Jackson during the rare times that things were going right because he was so off-putting.
But now it’s hard not to advocate for him just to go away. It doesn’t feel like he wants to be here anymore. Not like he did when he first took the job.
“I can think of no better opportunity than the opportunities that I’ve had, three of the biggest cities and basketball franchises [in] Chicago, Los Angeles and now to come back where I started. It’s a great feeling.”
When Jackson predictably looked back at his storied career during his introductory press conference, he envisioned the same success in New York. I wonder if he still has that great feeling.