Phil Jackson in New York City: Will it work?

By Robby Sabo,
Jackson becomes Knicks President

This could perhaps be the most unique season New York Knicks fans have ever endured. Reports have finally surfaced that Phil Jackson will indeed assume the President of Basketball Operations role of the New York Knicks.

With that news, one of the worst Knicks seasons has immediately turned into one of the best.

What this franchise needs more than anything is a vision. It needs a vision and a strong basketball person heading up the operation. On Tuesday, we will see Phil Jackson assume that role as he is introduced to New York as the Knicks new leader.

Although this news is surprising, Jackson is no stranger to the Knicks. He played 12 seasons in the NBA (1967-1980), 10 seasons and two championships with the Knicks, according to Basketball Reference. Once we throw in 11 championships as the head coach of the Bulls and the Lakers, the man has more rings than fingers.

So what does this all mean? Well for one, regardless of the outcome, this is a great move by the organization. While Phil Jackson has never been an NBA executive before, his mere presence gives a struggling franchise credibility. The major reason the Miami Heat were able to attract LeBron James in 2010 was the basketball legend known as Pat Riley. They sat down, and Riley said if you come to Miami I will make you a champion like me. Phil can now do the same for the Knicks.

Some might think this is also a retirement move by Phil. They second guess the work ethic he might put into the job. Others say that’s an impossibility. If there’s one thing basketball fans know, it’s that the 68 year-old Jackson has one of the biggest egos in the sport. Failure is not an option in Jackson’s world.

The large elephant in the room is Knicks owner James Dolan. What surprises many about Jackson agreeing to come to the Knicks is Dolan’s meddling ways. He seems to not be able to control himself. After a decade of failures, the Knicks brought in Donnie Walsh to head up the basketball side, and he turned them into a winner. However Donnie Walsh did not stay as long as fans would have wanted, and most think it was due to Dolan’s constant interfering. Most feel it was the Carmelo Anthony trade that upset Walsh. Dolan jumped in and got the deal finalized, without Walsh’s blessing, according to NY Daily News.

James Dolan still holds all the cards in this situation. He is the owner and writes the checks. But for this to work, he must stay out of the way and let Jackson run the franchise.

Basketball is a sport where the architect must make the pieces fit. While superstars dominate the sport, the pieces have fit for a team to be born. This is what the Knicks have not been able to figure out since the 90’s.

Phil Jackson knows how to fit the pieces properly. First order of business: What to do with Carmelo Anthony? Can any pieces fit around that guy?

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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