There is no way to get around the obvious. The finger of blame points at one person and one person only. It’s not James Dolan, who has had his issues as an owner both with fans and even ex-players. It’s not the head coach. It’s not the talent.
No longer can a portion of the blame be divided up like slice of a pie and handed out accordingly. For how things are now, the pie is dedicated to one person and one person only.
For all Jackson has done in his career, albeit alongside some of the greatest players to ever play the game (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal), it no longer saves him. It no longer excuses his stubborn ego. It no longer buys him a “pass”.
The New York Knicks are a disaster and it all falls on Phil Jackson.
When the Knicks initially brought Jackson in, Jackson demanded his famous triangle offense would be put in place.
So, the Knicks built their team, their coaching staff and ran their offense in the image of Jackson, not a franchise player such as Carmelo Anthony and/or Kristaps Porzingis.
The New York Knicks built their team around their team president and that was what planted to seeds of failure for the Knicks.
But failure wasn’t all that Jackson brought to an organization that was already tired of it’s history of failure. Jackson brought humiliation to a franchise in desperate need of a new, solid foundation to hold it’s respected, celebrated and historic brand upon.
And that’s when Jackson’s ego continued to keep the Knicks drowning in it’s own pool of misery and ineptitude.
Jackson feuded with players such as Carmelo Anthony and despite clear signs that his system wasn’t working, Jackson refused to sit back in the role of team president, refused to let a coach do a coach’s job, refused to stop treating himself as the smartest man in the room at any time and refused to get out of his own way.
Jackson, drunk on his own legend, drunk on his own ego and his own self-infatuation, couldn’t except that fact that he was wrong, or that he could be.
And in typical Jackson fashion, and a blatant example of narcissism, Jackson re-directed blame and called out Carmelo Anthony, not himself, for the Knicks failures.
“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time,” Jackson said to the media on Friday. “I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
Jackson admitted that he told Anthony he may be better off accepting a trade.
“I just said that you haven’t won here. You don’t want to end up your career not winning,” Jackson said of his talks with Anthony. “This is not something that you want to have labeled on your career. You want to get to that territory where you have a chance to win. That’s — we talked around that. But he likes it here. He expressed that.”
But then came an ESPN report that said Kristaps Porzingis skipped exit meetings with Knicks management due to frustration over what he perceives as the dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization.
Again, Jackson re-directed blame towards anyone but him.
I think there’s disconnect sometimes with this team, and I think there was some rebelliousness with this team that created some of the discord during the year,” Jackson said. “And I think [that] has to stop and that will stop.”
And when Jackson was asked if the Knicks were going to be open to move players on the roster.
“Everything has got to be possible, and we have to make sure that if people have something to say, we listen to it, we examine it,” Jackson said before complimenting Porzingis for his development this season.
At the end of the day the Knicks can make bold moves, trades and sign the big money free agents but it all seems destined, regardless of those moves, to succumb to the unwavering stubborn ego of Jackson, who can’t seem to fully embrace his executive role nor can he accept that it’s possible that he may not always be the smartest guy in the room.
And for that, the Knicks will be stuck swimming against the current in this river of constant misfortune.