Last April, Madison Square Garden was rocking. The New York Knicks were playing important playoff games, after winning 54 games in the regular season. It was an exciting season for the franchise and the fans. This April, MSG is not a sea of blue and orange, but blue and white, for the Rangers.
After having a horrid 37-45 regular season and missing out on the Eastern Conference playoffs, Phil Jackson and the Knicks front office decided to fire head coach Mike Woodson. Did the Knicks have a 54-win roster this season? Not necessarily. They lost some key veteran leaders that were a big reason for their success in the 2012-2013 campaign. This team was not going to repeat the same success. It would have taken a miracle to win that many games, but to win just 37 games and let the Hawks get in as the eighth seed at six games under .500 is flat out pathetic.
Despite what Woodson believed, he was not the man for this job. This team stopped listening to him and they never bought in, and Amare Stoudemire even said that after the final game of the season. Baffling decisions left fans scratching their heads on a nightly basis, and Woodson never had the team ready to play in big games. It all began with the December 16th loss to the Wizards, where Woodson failed to call a timeout in the final seconds. From too much switching on defense to failing to put the best combination of players on the court, everything took a tumble for the 2013-2014 Knicks. Knicks fans message to Woodson today is, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
The Phil Jackson era is officially under way, and this was a step in the process that had to be made. Jackson can now focus on a new head coach, and re-signing his superstar, Carmelo Anthony. Steve Kerr looks like the number one option right now, despite not having head coaching experience. Derek Fisher could also be an intriguing option for the job, but he would be following Jason Kidd’s path in the immediate transition from player to coach. Jackson has his options, and Knicks fans should trust the former coach that has 11 NBA titles. The guy doesn’t have enough room on both hands to fit all of his rings. He’ll bring a coach with a championship pedigree in that can teach the triangle offense and instill winning into a team that has not won a title since Jackson was on the team in 1973.
There is still plenty of work to do for Jackson in his debut in the front office, but it has to start with the coaches. It’s now a fresh slate on the sidelines, and the 11-time champion can bring in the head coach and assistants that he feels comfortable with. Knicks fans no longer will need to fear James Dolan and Steve Mills making the decisions for this team. That alone could write the ship at MSG. Buckle up for a long offseason ahead, but one that a certified winner will be in charge of. Brighter days are ahead for the New York Knicks.