It was a realistic hope and expectation. Phil Jackson was one of the most successful coaches in the history of the NBA.
Even though he had absolutely no experience eing a front office guy, his presence was supposed to end the toxic atmosphere that had infiltrated the Knicks organization since 2001.
Fast-forward two-and-a-half years and the dysfunction is back in full force for the New York Knicks.
After a 14-10 start to the season, the Knicks have stumbled to a 20-26 record and are 2.5 games out of a playoff spot in the mediocre Eastern conference.
To be six games under .500 and 2.5 games out is a bitter disappointment halfway through the season considering the expectation was not only to be a playoff team, but to be a team that had a chance to actually make noise come playoff time.
The conversations around the organization haven’t been about the playoffs over the last few weeks, they have been about players going AWOL, a rift between the team’s president and the best player, and a head coach who has been completely undermined because of the lack of leadership from above.
The last few weeks have been a shameful indictment of Phil Jackson as president and leader of the New York Knicks.
When you run an organization, you have to be present and you have to be accessible and accountable to members of the media and your fan base.
When you get paid $12 million a year it’s your job to speak to your fans, especially when things go sour.
A few weeks ago, Derrick Rose inexplicably left the team, did not show up for a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, and did not inform anyone within the Knicks organization.
It was unacceptable action by the Knicks starting point guard, but after the incident, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek and Knicks players were forced to answer uncomfortable questions surrounding Rose’s situation.
That’s where a president needs to step up and handle a situation. Phil Jackson, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
A week later, a story written on FanRagSports.com by Jackson associate Charley Rosen tore apart the game of Carmelo Anthony and other Knick players, and also laid zero blame on Phil Jackson for the Knicks struggles as a team.
This story clearly was written with Rosen acting as the mouthpiece of Phil Jackson, and that is no secret.
This story launched the two-week soap opera regarding the Jackson-Melo relationship and Anthony’s future with the New York Knicks.
Throughout the last two weeks, you have heard Anthony deal with the situation with honesty, class and professionalism.
On the other hand, Phil Jackson continues to be MIA.
You cannot expect to have a winning organization and culture with a team president who is nowhere to be found in tough times, someone who is not interested in dealing with members of the media to answer for decisions by the organization, and is completely out of touch with many aspects of the modern-day NBA.
It’s becoming tougher and tougher to defend the Jackson regime.
As a fan, I want to know the team president’s thoughts on Anthony’s future, thoughts on the team, and what needs to happen to get the Knicks back as a relevant power in the NBA.
I thought the hire of Phil Jackson was supposed to end all of this dysfunction. Instead it feels like Isiah Thomas vs. Larry Brown vs. Stephon Marbury all over again.
It’s not a hopeless situation. The Knicks have a centerpiece building block in Kristaps Porzingis.
Jackson drafted Porzingis. He deserves credit for that.
Porzingis aside, the Jackson tenure thus far has been nothing short of a disaster.
Until there is accountability and a clear vision from the Knicks president, the situation will never change.
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