New York Knicks: Time For Phil Jackson To Make His Mark


This offseason is an important one for the New York Knicks. They have an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a solid future foundation with a top pick and a boatload of cap space to use on free agents. For that to happen, Phil Jackson must make his mark on the organization and get things heading in the right direction, starting with the NBA Draft.

Before last season, Phil Jackson signed on to be the New York Knicks head of basketball operations. With much fanfare, he promised to return the Knicks to greatness using his famed triangle offense system that has helped him win 11 NBA Championships. New front office, new coach, new optimism new success.

The season was far from a success. The Knicks finished with the second worst record in the NBA. Their bad luck continued when on draft night they won the fourth pick in the draft which in all likelihood puts C Jahlil Okafor, or C/PF Karl-Anthony Towns out of reach.

But hope is not lost, and Knicks fans have reason to be optimistic. They have the fourth pick and lots of cap room to sign marquee free agents. Progress is dependent on the choices Jackson makes. The executive, not the coach, and it all starts on draft night.

They have many options with the fourth pick. The Knicks can acquire a very talented prospect with the fourth pick. Both Emmanuel Mudiay, an athletic point guard who played overseas in China last season, and D’Angelo Russel, point guard from Ohio Statelook to be the real deal. One those players and then the signing of a free agent to complement him and Carmelo Anthony would have the Knicks in business.

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Historically many NBA stars have been drafted with the fourth overall pick; Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul just to name a few. If the Knicks draft a player with that type of talent, will Knicks fans still feel remorse over missing out on a top three pick? Doubtful.

They can also trade down for more picks which is not a bad option either. All good teams use a combination of star players and elite role players to achieve success.

Look at this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Of course LeBron James’ return to Clevleand was headline news this offseason, and without him, they would have more than likely been making a return to the NBA Lottery instead of the NBA Finals.

Compare their record before (19-16) and then and after (34-13) acquiring Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith,Two role players that have been instrumental in their finals run this season. James also took some time off to rest around that time, but the acquistion of Shumpert and Smith from the Knicks filled major holes for the Cavaliers.

The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers were lead by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Superstars, hall of famers without question. Where would they have been without the likes of role players Ron Harper or Steve Kerr who won championships with two different teams.

Plenty of elite players are picked in the middle and end of the 1st round. Here is a scenario I see possibly unfolding that would potentially help the Knicks involving two lower first round draft picks.

The Boston Celtics have the 16th and 28th picks in the NBA draft. Suppose they traded these two selections to the Knicks for the 4th pick. Historically some good players have been picked at 16. John Stockton is one player that comes to mind who was drafted in 1984 and became an all time NBA great. At 28, Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs stellar point guard was chosen. Knick fans sure wouldn’t complain if they drafted a player of his quality.

And it’s possible to do so. Either direction they take, it’s up to Jackson to find those players. Progress will mean improvement and the start of a solid foundation to build the team around.

Next: Who is the best Knicks' PG of all-time?

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