Phil Jackson is either suffering from a severe case of revisionist history or he honestly believes that he lives in a world where he should only receive the credit and never the blame.
The question is, why? As in why is Phil trying to avoid responsibility for the Knicks failures since he took over as team president in March 2014. Maybe Jackson is worried that his time in New York will tarnish his Hall of Fame resume and is trying to play fancy Zen mind tricks to erase the last two years from our memory bank.
“This is a handpicked team,” Jackson told Shaquille O’Neal recently during a podcast with his former player. “They all fit together in a way in which – we haven’t had this opportunity since I’ve been in New York. A lot of it was we simply had players who were here because of the past administration. And this is the first time we had an opportunity to not only get players, but also have money to go out and solicit players off the free-agent market.”
Actually, that “past administration” built a team that won 54 games and advanced out of the first round for the only time since 2000. Jackson took over the following year and began to revamp the roster and changes head coaches. The result was a franchise-worst 17 wins.
The total makeover continued the following summer and by the start of the season the only player left on the roster that Jackson inherited was Carmelo Anthony, whom Jackson re-signed for $124 million. And for good measure, he threw in a no-trade clause.
That team won 32 games and during this past off-season Jackson added 10 new faces. He’s also on his fourth head coach. No, these losing Knicks teams belong to Jackson. His vision, his players, his coaches. Passing the blame to a previous administration is not only wrong but it’s not exactly an example of great leadership. Or does Phil want to create a culture where no one takes accountability and blames the other guy?
Kristaps Porzingis is future of Knicks.
Two years ago, Jackson admitted that he would be okay if his lasting legacy was putting the Knicks in a position to eventually contend for a title. By the time Kristaps Porzingis, a player Jackson drafted, becomes a perennial All-Star there’s a very good chance that Jackson will no longer be running the team. Still, Jackson drafted what appears to be a franchise caliber player. That’s not as simple as it sounds.
Jackson’s goal this season is to get the Knicks back into the playoffs for the first time in three years. It’s why he traded for Derrick Rose and took a gamble by investing $72 million over four years in Joakim Noah. It’s a risk but Carmelo’s window is closing. Phil’s as well.
But what Phil and the rest of the organization can never lose sight of is that Porzingis is the future. Every move should be made with Porzingis in mind. It can’t be about Phil. It has to be about Porzingis.
Years from now we might find Phil on Kobe Bryant’s podcast gladly taking credit for Porzingis. And he should.
But for now, stop trying to assign blame for a losing record when the losses belong to you and only you.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News