Phil Jackson, as head honcho of the New York Knicks, has compiled a grand total of 76 wins to 157 losses as of March 20, 2017. That number figures to be 158 losses barring an upset tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. But the worst part about all of the losses, numerous head coaches and player turnover, is the absurd amount of money Jackson is being paid by owner, James Dolan – not to mention ol’ Phillip pretty much does this gig part-time.
Just how bad has it become in Gotham City?
Well, to put it bluntly, the triangle offense – which has been discussed ad nauseam, has taken a new form of low. In addition, the one bright spot of Jackson’s tenure – drafting phenom Kristaps Porzingis – could end up being a future black eye on the already crappy resume he’s built as team president of the Knicks.
Some Knicks also feel that the offense is easy to defend. Opposing players have told the Knicks that they can predict where they’ll be when running the triangle, and one Eastern Conference coach last season told friends that defending the triangle was one of the easiest assignments in the league because of that.
If the dysfunction continues, no one should be surprised if Porzingis and Hernangomez leave the franchise in free agency. That, of course, would be the biggest black eye of Jackson’s presidency.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are reports surfacing that insiders of the Knicks organization are skeptical of keeping Jackson and will try to convince Dolan to let him go after the season.
But there are underlying issues that lead people inside and outside the organization to wonder if Jackson is the right person to lead them forward. He didn’t say it directly, but Porzingis gave a voice to some of those concerns last week when he spoke of the confusion in the organization at the moment “from top to bottom.”
Jackson and the Knicks have a mutual option after this season, and owner James Dolan has said that he will honor the final two years of Jackson’s contract. But some around Dolan had been pushing him to consider making a change in recent months, according to sources.
It seems almost ludicrous that Jackson still has a job. Despite the clout he carries, beefing with the league’s best players, his own players, and overall lack of respect he has shown anyone who stands in his way, is astonishing considering his NBA resume. Would anyone else have a job after all of the self-inflicting distractions and drama he’s brought to this organization?
The Knicks are going to have a top 10 draft pick and possibly top five come late June. And depending on the moves they make with Derrick Rose, or trades – specifically Carmelo Anthony, could have the Knicks looking at cap space and an attractive young core of players. However, as long as Phil Jackson is running things, it would appear that the team isn’t going to be in line to grab top-notch free agents to get them in contention anytime soon. Simply, Jackson has hurt the Knicks image as a destination that players would want to go because of how he treats them through the media and the triangle offense that nobody wants to play in.
Unfortunately, Jackson appears willing to play out his full contract. This probably means a couple more losing seasons for the Knicks and their fans. A term that has unfortunately became synonymous with the New York franchise since the early 2000s.
On the bright side, at least the Knicks have their draft picks. Something that couldn’t be said for the better part of the last 15 years.
Whether these potential lottery picks stick around is another story…