When Phil Jackson was introduced in March of 2014 as the new President of the New York Knicks, he made himself very clear in what his intentions were. Big things.
He was going to be the one to clean up the mess that was the New York Knicks after they finished with a disappointing 37-45 during the 2013-2014 season, after making the playoffs and getting past the first round the previous year.
So, Phil Jackson came in and he cleaned house, firing the coaching staff, and trading away nearly the entire Knicks roster. A bit controversially I might add, as he traded players like Tyson Chandler, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and more. Fans asked what this man was doing? Did the Knicks get bamboozled with Phil? Then, with the fourth pick in the NBA draft, Knick fans were waiting for Emmanuel Mudiay, Justice Winslow or some other widely regarded player in the draft class of 2015. Then, what? He drafted Kristaps Porzingis.
Well, Phil Jackson must’ve known what he doing, as Kristaps Porzingis has been extremely productive for these Knicks. As of 1/12/2016, Porzingis has 13.6 points per game which ranks 3rd of all rookies, and a .867 free throw percentage.
He also has provided some very entertaining dunks through out the season. From a guy who stands 7 ‘3’, you might expect that. You could expect some defense too right? He has that too. He has 77 blocks, which leads all rookies and is tied for 7th in the entire NBA.
While it’s not an extremely high number, he does have 27 steals, which ranks tied for 5th with all rookies. So far Porzingis, is proving all doubters wrong and is making Phil Jackson look like a genius.
However, did Phil Jackson put together a team that can make the playoffs? Clearly, this is not Phil Jackson’s final product, as the team is needy for help in the backcourt, preferably with a point guard.
However, he did bring in a couple of pieces for his plan with Arron Affalo, Robin Lopez and other low key moves that have turned out to be good ones in signings like Derrick Williams. The question is though, is this team good enough to make the playoffs THIS season? They are a game and a half away from the Magic, and are clearly in the hunt.
With Carmelo Anthony playing like the elite player we all know he is, combined with Porzingis and other pieces, is it enough? If they land a key point guard, would they be a virtual lock for the 8th seed at least? Can they do without, at least just to GET to the playoffs? If they get help on the backcourt and everyone can stay healthy, then the Knickerbockers should be a shoe in for at least the 8th seed.