It’s time to accept a certain reality: Jackson just isn’t cut out for this gig. The world has gotten bigger, and the talent pool has grown with it. An NBA executive must be a tireless workaholic, not an ex-coach who acts like his 11 championship rings make scouring the globe for talent beneath him. Jackson nailed Kristaps Porzingis, a transformative 7-foot-3 big man who will revolutionize the center position. Yet the frontrunner for the Knicks’ coaching job (incumbent Kurt Rambis) has suggested Porzingis play some small forward while staying loyal to a system (the triangle) that doesn’t seem to suit the young star.
The Knicks don’t have a pick next month, which is all the more reason for Jackson to put in the extra work. No asset is more attainable than a second-round pick, particularly from the handful of teams (Boston, New Orleans, Denver) with a few of them. Finding NBA talent there is difficult, but every year yields a Norman Powell, a Jordan Clarkson, an Allen Crabbe, and it’s often the most relentless executives who grab them.
Now is the time for Jackson to marshal his resources, not cruise through the Plains States on an ill-timed break. There’s video to be dissected, college coaches to be called, international scouts with information to be bled dry. Free agency – Jackson’s rebuilding method of choice – has changed, evolved. The magnetic pull to big markets has weakened, replaced by a marketplace of players fueled by a desire to win. New York, with its instability, its annual failures, just isn’t where the elite talent is looking to play.
I agree with Mannix, I have never liked the hiring of Jackson for this very reason. Jackson may be a great communicator and teacher but that doesn’t always make you a great talent evaluator or manager. Then there is his insistence to run the Triangle offense with a team that is not well suited to run it.