When Phil Jackson swooped in and got paid a pretty penny to take over a dismal and downtrodden Knicks franchise, people said it was a PR move. Those irrational fans and NY Knicks haters said Phil wouldn’t make a difference. They said the franchise was in too bad a shape and Carmelo Anthony was a star who couldn’t play with others despite winning an NCAA Championship as a college freshman and taking some suspect Knicks and Denver Nuggets teams to the playoffs.
They said Phil was a player and a coach, but he’s never been a talent evaluator or a team builder. They had more reasons as to why he wouldn't succeed, than the Kardashians have lovers.
Despite a pedigree that breeds championships and a track record on par with any great basketball mind in history, the negative vibe within the Knicks community and the always demoralizing tone from non-NY fans was prevalent.
These fools are slowing finding out that there are levels to this and Phil Jackson is at the top.
Last season was the cleansing period. The Knicks and HC Derek Fisher suffered the worst season in franchise history, going 17-65, but it was necessary. Similar to how a drug addict detoxes, getting clean is a multi-step process, where you must take a few steps backwards physically to eventually prevail sober. The season of 2014 will forever be remember as a throw away year in a Knicks rebuilding process.
Every move Phil made from jump was criticized. It was almost comical. When he released or traded useless players such as J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, the fans in the psyche ward were criticizing the move.
When Phil, who did his due diligence in preparing for the draft, missed out on Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns and made his pick of 7-foot-1 Latvian Kristaps Porzingis, the venom directed at him was sheepish, lacked foresight, basketball intelligence and legitimacy.
Mashing on the Knicks has become fashionable around NBA Nation. Kicking the dog when it’s down is easy to do. Where the public messed up is that they tried to clump a proven winner like Phil Jackson in with the Knicks' historic shortcomings, totally ignoring the fact that Phil was a part of those Knicks championship squads in 1970 and '73 and he hasn't stopped winning since. He even wifed his boss' daughter.
When you roll with winners, as the Knicks and James Dolan finally did by putting the future of their franchise in the Zen Master’s hands, eventually you will come up aces.
And with the sterling play of Porzingis (who most projected as a project), there's a change in the narrative surrounding Phil and his front office acumen. Jackson’s first major draft pick as Knicks President is showing signs of being a potential beast. Porzingis is averaging 11.8 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game in just under 24 minutes of action, quickly establishing himself as a winning pick to set off the Jackson regime.
Entering last night's 111-109 win over first-place Toronto, Porzingis became the first Knicks rookie since 1985 -- when the Knicks revived a dying franchise with the acquisition of Georgetown giant Patrick Ewing -- to have 90 points and 60 rebounds in his first seven games.
Analysts, who once assassinated Phil’s basketball gangster are now raving about the 19-year-old skyscraper. Some are comparing him with Pau Gasol. ESPN analysts gleamed about Porzingis’ freakish, length and tippy-toe dunking. Others are so impressed by his range that they are calling him a “Dirk Nowitski” type, which is not far-fetched because we heard that before the draft. Problem is, everybody thought it was hype. Now they see the lanky, long Latvian with the sweet touch and some toughness to match is the real deal.
Now cats are saying “that kind of splash and overall substance that Porzingis brings," is separating him from the pack, even with Okafor and Towns making serious contributions to their young, struggling teams.
TSL Flashback And Back Pats
The Knicks are 4-4, one game behind the Raptors in the Atlantic Division and 10x the team they were last season. I hate to say we told you so but while everyone else was slaying and playing Phil back in June, The Shadow League told you in a post draft day piece entitled, Knicks Fans Flash Dependency Brand Can’t Accept Zen Master’s Draft Contingency Plan: Say what you want but check your emotions. Phil Jackson is doing what ownership brought him in to do -- build a miracle out of mud, that it was too early to indict Phil.
That's the problem with NY Knicks fans. We always prefer the flash over substance. That's why everybody is ripping Phil Jackson this morning. In a NY minute, Phil has gone from saviour to money-snatching sucker in the eyes of the majority of Knicks fans after he selected Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis, a paper thin, 7-foot-1, three-point shooting project, with the fourth pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Knicks fans -- to put it lightly -- went bonkers when Porzingis' name was called. The fans in attendance booed widely and gave an emphatic thumbs downs to the pick. For starters, no one outside of devout basketball nerds had even heard of him. Secondly, Knicks fans endured a full-year of tanking in hopes of snatching one of the draft's two coveted big men; No. 1 overall pick Karl Anthony Towns (Minnesota) or No. 3 pick Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia). That was the first part of Phil Jackson's master plan. Shed cap space and old baggage, lose enough games to get a sure-fire stud. All they needed was a top three pick to get a player that everyone would be cool with. D'Angelo Russell, who was drafted No. 2 by the Lakers would have sufficed. Unfortunately, all of those guys were gone when the Knicks No. 4 pick arrived.
There had been rumors that Porzingis was rising up the board and he possessed the qualities that would fit well in a Triangle offense, but most fans never saw this one coming. It blindsided the majority of them, who immediately started blazing their negative energies over social media outlets and expressing an outrage not seen since the Isiah Thomas era. As the shock wears off and reality sets in, some media heads will claim that they knew all about Porzingis. That the NBA was waiting for him to be ready for some time now. They will tell you about his 53 percent on jump shots, his spacing of the floor and his wet stroke. He represents the natural evolution of the 4 they'll insist.
Others will flat out diss and dismiss it as typical Knicks head-scratching hogwash.
One of the leaders of the Knicks Draft Night Riots was sports analyst Stephen A. Smith.
...Smith is from Queens, so he's just reflecting the frustration and selfish, misguided psychotic and sad characteristics of tortured Knicks fans. We have such pride and basketball knowledge and have been made fools of by Knicks ownership and management for so long that we are almost like broken horses. This draft was in Brooklyn at The Barclays. It was supposed to be a special one for NY. We were going to get a fancy-named baller out of college, through the draft just as everyone has been begging for and imploring that we had to do to return to prominence...
Instead, we are having nightmares and flashbacks of France's Frederic Weiss, an infamous Knicks draft pick, who was ranked 13th on Complex.com's "Top 25 Worst NBA Draft Picks of All-Time":
Said Smith: "You've probably heard the name Frederic Weis before, and it probably had something to do with the fact that his face once made intimate relations with Vince Carter's balls during the 2000 Summer Olympics. That's really the only thing that American basketball fans will remember the French big man for, having never decided to come over to the NBA, even after being drafted by the Knicks in 1999. Oddly enough, his draft rights were traded to the Houston Rockets in 2008 for Patrick Ewing Jr. So basically what the Knicks ended up with here was Patrick Ewing's less-talented son, a center too soft to even attempt playing in the league, and no Metta World Peace (Knicks passed over him to draft Weiss). Pat yourselves on the back there, New York."
Smith’s for-the-cameras rant against his hometown squad made for great television, but exposed him and many other talking heads for their lack of knowledge. Hopefully, now these false orators will stay in their lanes, acknowledge the fact that they were fools to ever question Phil Jackson’s basketball I.Q. and dedication and give props where it is due. He's also seemed to have gotten through to Melo, who is sharing the ball more and doing the dirty things needed to win games. As the season progresses, even the Knicks star who was once thought to be headed out the door, is gaining confidence in Phil and realizing Zen Master has put together a team with some talent.
The Knicks aren’t championship material quite yet, but in one season Jackson has turned mud into a miracle and been that shining light offering hope to a once dark and defeated New York basketball spirit. It is almost too good to be true for those trapped in “The Knicks Suck” zone. But Toronto won't be the last team to be smacked into reality and forced to acknowledge that it’s a new day.
Phil Jackson is in the building. Respect that!