from Connor Riley
March 18, 2014, 2:14 p.m.
By Connor Riley
Today the New York Knicks hired former Bulls' and Lakers' head coach Phil Jackson to be the President of Basketball Operations. The Knicks are currently embroiled in a disappointing 27-40 season, and face the reality of their star player Carmelo Anthony leaving in the offseason. Phil Jackson has quite a mess on his hands when you factor in the Knicks salary cap situation, which has the Knicks paying almost $49 million to often injured front court players Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, and Andrea Bargnani next year. They also do not have their first round pick, due to the fact that the Knicks traded the pick for Anthony back in 2011. The Knicks will not be a quick and easy turnaround.
To jump the gun on Phil I fired up the old XBOX and played NBA 2k14 to try my own hand at fixing the Knicks. It did not go well.
First I traded Anthony to the Philadelphia 76ers for rookie of the year candidate Michael Carter-Williams and Byron Mullens. I/Phil needed to make the 2015 Knicks as bad a team as one could be. I then traded misused 2-guard Iman Shumpert and point guard Raymond Felton to the Charlotte Bobcats for former No.2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Sure he is historically one of the worst shooters of all-time, but he has huge upside and is already one of the best defenders in the league. Lastly I send always controversial sixth man JR Smith and promising scorer Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers for rookie CJ Mccollum. I have the core of my team filled with young former lottery picks, and we are all set to stink in 2015. CAN YOU FEEL KNICKS FEVER!!!!
Of course what I didn't plan on was the 2014-15 Atlantic division being god awful, thus meaning a 42 win Knick team can win the Atlantic division and then quickly lose in the first round to the Indiana Pacers. Not having a lottery pick drastically makes me rethink my strategy. After treading water and setting up the teams salary cap, I go after and sign center and headcase Dwight Howard from Houston. The 2017 Knicks are finally in a position to contend for a title...
Right up until Dwight tears his ACL twenty games into the season. At this point I had invested more time and effort then any sane person should into fixing the Knicks on 2K. It is about 1:30 am, and I am just fed up with the Knicks. I turn off the game and heard up to bed, disappointed in myself and the Knicks. The Knicks even suck in video games.
Phil Jackson has 11 rings as a coach, but he also had four of the twenty greatest players of all-time on those Bulls and Lakers teams. And Jackson isn't even coaching the team. Jackson is doing something he has never done before in his career. The early reports indicate that it will be former Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr's to lose. Ah yes, bring in someone else with no experience for the job(For the record I think Steve Kerr is really smart, but I don't know if he can turn around this team). While Kerr played under Jackson, and is familiar with him, this situation seems like the blind leading the blind.
And sure the Knicks will have the illustrious "cap space" after the 2015 season. The Knicks also had that same cap space in the summer of 2010, when guys like Lebron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were all free agents. That summer the Knicks came away with Amare Stoudemire and his current albatross of contract. That was it.
The Knicks, much like the Lakers and Celtics, cannot afford to have too many losing or even insignificant seasons. Sure they can have a down year every once and while, but the NBA is better when those teams are winning. The NBA has always been made up of really smart people and really dumb people. It is part of the reason why only nine teams have won championships in the past 30 years. Yes Phil Jackson is one of the great minds in the NBA, but I don't know if he, or anyone can ever truly fix the Knicks and make them the tenth team to win a championship since 1980. And that championship, or lack there of, will ultimately be what measures Jackson's tenure as a Knick as either a success or failure.
Have any suggestions as to how Phil should fix the Knicks? Explain them in the comments.