By: Will Stevenson
As fans, and people, we usually place the blame on what’s closest in proximity. As a person in the customer service industry, people throw their anger at whomever is in front of them. “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” is true when it comes to sports franchises in terms of delving out praise and blame according to the team’s success. If we were to look at the Sacramento Kings, we know they don’t have the best of talent on their roster, but they seem to have a few potential gems. Fans look at the product and still cheer, because they know the Kings management has done everything they can to lose. In the case of the New York Knicks, fans had been towering down on Carmelo Anthony, for he was the easy scapegoat for the team not making the playoffs, or even contending during the regular season. Carmelo is a scorer, not much of a consistent defender, rebounder, or passer, but is still the star of the franchise. He was the blame of the demise of Jeremy Lin, the sabotage of Amare Stoudemire, and consistent losing seasons. That all changed with the arrival of Phil Jackson.
Phil Jackson is the figurehead of the term “Zen”. As a coach, he was always the cool, laid back guy who led superstars and “others” to championships. He was, and still is heralded as one of the best coaches in NBA history. He took the triangle and turned Michael Jordan into a legend. His triangle has been used for the Bulls, the Lakers, Jordan, Pippen, Kobe and Shaq. Let’s not forget the triangle allowed players like Luc Longley, steve Kerr and Robert Horry to be deadly contributors come playoff time. But like everything in the NBA, your time passes and the new day arrives.
I don’t know if anyone noticed, but ever since the break-up of Shaq-Kobe and the book about Kobe, Phil hasn’t been the same. When Phil talks, it doesn’t seem like he has an objective grasp on the sports world. When Jackson became the Knicks President, it was a shaky move at best, because they couldn’t get Steve Kerr, and Derek Fisher felt like a puppet hire. Jackson, like most former NBA Stars (player or coach) find it hard to stay in the shadows to make their moves. They are use to being at the forefront of the operations, but now they are in a managerial role, in which they must relinquish their former power to others.
Phil Jackson doesn’t GAF anymore.
Phil still wants to run the triangle, still wants to trade Carmelo, still wants to hire coaches that will run his offense, and probably doesn’t listen to his public relations person. All the things Phil said in his end-of-season interview were the things the media believed, but from a PR standpoint and a collective bargaining standpoint, those things cannot be said in an open forum. Phil re-upped for two more years, leaving all to believe the continued downward spiral of the Knicks organization to be in full effect. Melo is there for two more years, Noah is there for three more, Courtney Lee is still there, Porzingis is under the rookie contract, and who knows what coach will be on the sidelines. It is a disaster, but it doesn’t seem like Phil is backing down.
So with Phil on board for two more years, who will Knick fans blame now? If Carmelo accepts a trade, that would leave Porzingis to be the whipping boy for on court play. Noah isn’t good enough to be the blame, and Derrick Rose wasn’t there long enough to accumulate blame.
Truth be told Phil misses Jeanie Buss. If you remember, Jeanie basically broke up with Phil through Twitter, or publicly alerted us at the least. Jeanie has since rid her brothers, taken over the Lakers, hired Magic and beat the court cases. Meanwhile, Phil is slowly falling into his sucken place as the Knicks continue to disappoint their fanbase.
Phil needs a new beau. Now. A new flame could offer a more objective side to Phil and help ease his stress of working under James Dolan.