Last Tuesday night, Knicks fans were all hopeful. They were hopeful that they would land the No. 1 overall draft choice. Hopeful that coming off of a 17-65 season, they would have the choice of drafting Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, that is not the way the cookie crumbled.
Though the Knicks had the second worst record in the NBA, they will end up selecting fourth overall when the NBA Draft rolls around on June 25. When Deputy NBA Commissioner Mark Tatum revealed the card on Tuesday night that the Knicks had the fourth pick, there was a groan from the audience and a reaction of disappointment from Knicks Executive VP and GM Steve Mills. I get it. Being a lifelong Knicks fan, I am disappointed as well. However, all hope was not lost.
At least we can still bank on an ownership that just brought back Isiah Thomas to run the Liberty. At least we can bank on the Knicks star player Carmelo Anthony, who flirted with leaving the franchise last summer, but ultimately came back to New York for the money. At least we can back on President Phil Jackson, who was a winner as a player and a coach, but never as an executive. At least we can back on the history of a franchise that has not won an NBA title since 1973.
The problem with the Knicks is that you expected what happened last Tuesday night. We watch the Cavaliers thrive in this year's postseason as they get contributions from three former Knicks in Iman Shumpert, JR Smith and Timofey Mozgov. I don’t blame Smith or Shumpert for buying into the winning atmosphere in Cleveland. They do not want to disappointment the best player in the world.
What is shows you is this, there is such a losing mentality with the Knicks that players succumb to it. That mentality needs to change. For many a Knicks fan, they buy into Murphy’s Law. “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”
That also needs to change. Will it be easy? No. But that is why the Knicks are paying Phil Jackson what they are paying him. It is why they rolled out the red carpet when they introduced him as Knicks boss. The early returns on the job that Phil has done are not so good, obviously. But it is now all on him.
He might be bothered that Thomas is back in the building. I don’t care and neither should any other Knicks fan.This is what happens when you decide to sign on at MSG. Expect the unexpected.
Jackson might look at this job as a lot more challenging then he initially thought with everything in play. Valid gripe, but there will be no shoulder to cry on. The coach he wanted, Steve Kerr, is coaching the Golden State Warriors. We all get that, but it is now the time to construct a roster. Layden, Thomas, Walsh, Grunwald are those that have come before him in recent years under Dolan and have ultimately failed. The deck certainly looks stacked against Phil. Don’t worry though Phil, just walk through the practice facility and light a branch of sage on fire ... It worked with the Lakers and the Bulls.
Oh yeah, that’s right. This is the Knicks. Good luck.