The Knicks have floundered this year, and Scottie Pippen believes Phil Jackson is at fault.
Thursday, on ESPN’s The Jump, Pippen decided to take a jab at Jackson and thinks all parties involved would be better off without the Zen Master in the front office. New York was recently eliminated from playoff contention and are 28-47 on the year, putting them at 12th overall in the East.
Pippen, who spent nine seasons under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls, had the best years of his career during that span. He was named an All-Star team seven times, landed on eight All-Defensive teams seven All-NBA teams. To top it off, he was huge in helping the Bulls bring home their six titles. His assessment of the Jackson was frank and spot-on:
“I just think he hasn’t put the right pieces on the floor. I give a lot of credit to Carmelo, who has been very professional in getting through this 82-game season, and now he’s being benched to some degree, they’ve taken a lot of his minutes away. But this team really just hasn’t had it. They haven’t had it since Phil Jackson landed there.
“There has not been any upside to think that the New York Knicks were gonna be a contender, and I just feel bad for Carmelo having to go through this and having to deal with it, but he got a great contract, so … I’m sure the fans will love to see Carmelo in New York and Phil out.”
Since getting to New York, the best thing Phil Jackson did was draft Kristaps Porzingis, but even that led to speculation because he decided to pick an unknown player over those who stood out in college. The coaching situation has been a revolving door, and he’s been vehement in finding someone who will institute the triangle offense that worked so well for him.
First, it was Derek Fisher. He seemed like an excellent candidate because of the five championships he won with Jackson and the triangle was used almost exclusively during the Shaquille O’Neal–Kobe Bryant era. New York went 17-65 in Fisher’s first season, and he got fired 54 games into last season. Jackson then hired Kurt Rambis as the interim and Jeff Hornacek replaced him for the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee were all brought over to the Knicks with the hopes of a return to the playoffs, but things turned sour quickly. Even when they were having mild success, the team had no identity; Hornacek was trying to implement the triangle, but no one wanted to adopt it fully. The team would break it out periodically, but it just didn’t look right — don’t tell Phil, though. After many months of deliberating, Jackson decided to get on the practice floor himself and teach the offense. That was at the start of March when any chance of making the postseason was gone.
In addition to that, he’s been very ambiguous with what he wants to do with Carmelo Anthony, who, like Pippen said, has handled all the Jackson talks perfectly. Beyond all the subtweets and trade rumors, Anthony has shown up more times than not and has never publically said anything demeaning about the organization.
Jackson’s deal in 2014 for good for five years and ownership won’t force him out of the position. Pippen thinks they should. To close the segment, he was asked if James Dolan should push Jackson out and Pippen answered with a very enthusiastic “yes!”
Even if they found someone to fill that position, Dolan isn’t a saint himself. After the Charles Oakley debacle, attracting free agents to the Knicks is going go to about as well as telling your fifth-grader than Santa doesn’t exist.
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