Knicks Continue to Fall; All Eyes on Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson took to twitter Sunday night to lambaste the Knicks for their 18 point loss to the Cavaliers earlier that day. He wrote, “Each NBA game is an opportunity for players to show their “best” nature and please the basketball gods…and those who know what “it” takes. Today’s game vs. Cavs gave basketball gods heartburn and those that know what “it” takes/means a smh.”  The Knicks record stands at 10-45, worst in the NBA.

Jackson was brought on by the Knicks to be the president, but was really brought to New York to “save” a franchise that couldn’t seem to get out of its own way. He signed for an absurd amount of money ($60 million over five years) given that he had never been the president of an organization.

To put it plainly, Jackson has struck out with every move he’s made, or tried to make. During the offseason he tried his best to court one of his former players, Steve Kerr to the Knicks for their head coaching vacancy. Kerr opted to take the Golden State coaching job instead (smart move) and Jackson was left to scramble and try to find a coach that would implement his triangle offense. In the end Jackson ended up hiring another former player in Derick Fisher, who’s been floundering since the first game of the season.

Jackson’s personnel moves haven’t fared any better. Trading Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for a package that included veteran point guard Jose Calderon, and the drafting of Cleanthony Early, haven’t provided wins. If anything, it looks as if the Knicks are taking a step backward.

There’s no denying Jackson’s resume as a head coach; the man won everywhere he went. He benefited from coaching Michael Jordan during his tenure in Chicago and Kobe Bryant while in Los Angeles. He coached two of the greatest to ever play the game and produced championships because of it.  

Jackson’s failures in his new job are the latest example of how athletes, coaches, GM’s, etc. can be legendary in one aspect of a given sport but not all. Keeping it with basketball, Michael Jordan has been struggling since he took over the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2010. Arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time has been one of the worst owners in the league he once dominated.

Phil Jackson is revered in basketball circles as the greatest coach of all-time, yet he’s completely missed the mark as the president of the Knicks. Only time will tell if he can put the pieces together and get this franchise back on track. If I was James Dolan, I’d demote Jackson to head coach and wouldn’t think twice about it. Jackson cemented a legacy of greatness patrolling the sidelines not by watching the games from the luxury suites.

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