Phil Jackson, who by many is remembered as probably the greatest coach in NBA history, winning 11 world championships – six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers – is trending to be the worst GM in NBA history. He was originally hired to help turn the New York Knicks back into a respectable title contender for years to come. But as it turns out, Jackson has created a dumpster fire, and things just keep getting worse for them. This article will be two parts, each of them breaking down all the things that Jackson has done completely wrong throughout his Knicks’ tenure.
Bad trades have been made under Jackson’s watch
On June 25th, 2014, Jackson traded his All-Star center Tyson Chandler for point guard José Calderon who averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 assists per game. Later that season, he traded guards Iman Shumpert and JR Smith to Cleveland in exchange for forward Lou Amundson and a box of Oreos – that’s how bad that trade was. To make matters worse, both Smith and Shumpert helped Cleveland win their first NBA championship in 54 years in 2016. Furthermore, the Knicks also traded shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr, who was a terrific bench scorer at the time averaging 11.3 point per game, for Jerian Grant, who they then sent to get Derrick Rose in 2016.
Bad head coach hirings
The first head coach of the Knicks that Phil Jackson hired was Derek Fisher, who had no prior head coaching experience at all, proved to be a disaster. Fisher planned to run the triangle offense, which succeeded when he played for Phil Jackson with the Lakers decades ago, ultimately fell on its face. At the time, New York lacked the personnel to make the triangle offense effective, containing a low shortage of big men and ball-dominant players in Anthony and JR Smith.
After a 40-96 record in one and a half years, Fisher was fired and Kurt Rambis, whose coaching record is 65-164 lifetime became the intern head coach. That summer, the Knicks hired Jeff Hornacek who got fired from the Suns after finishing 14-35 the previous year. This hiring came out of nowhere, because everyone was expecting native New Yorker Mark Jackson to become the new head coach. But nope, Phil Jackson had to disappoint fans once again. Oh and by the way, about the Derek Fisher hiring, they chose him over Steve Kerr. And I wonder how Steve Kerr is doing right now?
Knicks couldn’t even tank properly
Like many franchises, especially the Philadelphia 76ers, they decide to tank and rebuild for the future. Many organizations usually rest their key players down the stretch in order to land a top 3 pick. The Knicks however, did not take on that approach. In two of their last three games, New York won two of them, costing themselves the chance to receive the first pick in the draft. But that’s not the worst part. The Knicks didn’t even get a top 3 draft pick, which made tanking the season a complete waste. Thankfully, the organization’s misstep didn’t cost them as they drafted Kristaps Porzingis, who as you all know is a franchise cornerstone.
Jackson has ruined the legacy of Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest scorers in recent NBA history. Anthony came to New York from the Denver Nuggets to help build a contender in New York. Unfortunately for Melo, things in New York escalated after getting the Knicks to the second round of the playoffs in 2013. When Jackson came to New York, he gave Carmelo Anthony a five-year, $124 million dollar contact to stay with the Knicks in hopes that they would build a championship contender.
However, Jackson decided to tank the season without telling Anthony. Just recently, Jackson has been held responsible for throwing Anthony under the bus, saying stuff like “Carmelo hogs the ball too much”, and “he doesn’t make the triangle work”. Also, saying that he is better off somewhere else, and that he isn’t always active on both ends of the floor. Sorry Phil, if that’s what you thought of Carmelo from the start then why did you resign him to a mega contract? Carmelo Anthony deserves better than this, his talent should be used for a team looking to win a title, not for an atrocity like the Knicks.
Part Two of this segment will come out soon, as it will entail more about the Knicks and Phil Jackson’s latest blunders as general manager.