No president of basketball operations takes over an NBA team, waves a magic wand, and Ta-Da, a championship is delivered.
Such has been the case with Phil Jackson.
He has yet to bring a title to New York, but in a 49-minute media session on Friday at the team’s training facility, Jackson gave Knicks fans two concrete pillars: accountability and a clear vision of what he expects to accomplish in his tenure.
Phil Jackson emphasizes aspects that will further develop team culture and identity for the New York Knicks, in hopes to enter the playoffs and beyond in the coming seasons.
“The year in retrospect, for the players, was one that had a lot of hope,’’ Jackson added. “And one that kind of started descending around the holidays and never quit during the last three months of the year. As a group, they felt they lost their way, their ability to win close games.’’
Jackson mentioned the Spurs and Patriots as examples of what he wants to build.
“I like the backbone of what we have,’’ Jackson added later in the session. “You can see what we’ve got. Guys like Ron [Baker] and Chasson [Randle] and Willy Hernangomez, and the kids we’re bringing into this organization have a certain sense of how to play in the structure, the way we want to play.
“I think we’re moving in that direction. It’s not fast enough, obviously to carry the day, but I think we’re going to get there.’’
Here is Jackson’s take on the key issues facing the Knicks this offseason:
Phil Jackson discusses the conversations he's had with Carmelo Anthony about his future in New York.
The future of Carmelo Anthony: “We will take into account his consideration. I told him this is not a situation where we’re going to dump you or do anything like that. We’re looking to improve ourselves however we can. We have not been able to win. And that’s our priority, to win.
“Our meeting was not contentious at all. And it was cordial. We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time. And I think the direction with our team, he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talents somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
The injury-plagued season of Joakim Noah: “He’s 31. He’s still relatively young. He has a great heart in this guy. He has a passion for the game. He expressed his great dedication to getting back to what he was or who he is as a basketball player. So I have to trust him on that.’’
The status of free agent point guard Derrick Rose: “He said he wants to have a chance to redeem himself as a player. I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself – a warrior directed at taking on the big challenge.’’
If the Knicks and Anthony part ways, is Kristaps Porzingis ready to carry the load?
“No, I don’t [think he’s ready]. He’s 21 years old. That’s a big load for anybody to carry, but he’s shown that he’s competitive. He’s shown that he got a sense of a desire to win. We’re really pleased with how he’s developed.
What will Jackson do next season to help the Knicks: “I’ve learned I probably have to be better at mentoring, everybody … So that’s where I’ve got to do a little more on-scene, on-target mentoring.’’
What fans should expect to see out of the Knicks next season: “Playing hard like we played the last five, six games. Guys getting up into people, playing hard, pick up full court at times. You know, ball movement, activity instead of standing. Those type of things. That’s what they’re going to see more of.’’