Had you looked at the NBA standings last month, you would have thought the New York Knicks were down, out and the future looked bleak. Between their poor record, Raymond Felton‘s arrest, J.R. Smith‘s antics and the overall debacle of the franchise, the Knicks seemed years away from being considered a force in the East. It also seemed that they would lose Carmelo Anthony, their only beacon of hope, to free agency.
Then this crazy rumor started, or at least it seemed crazy, that Phil Jackson would become head coach of New York. That rumor was quickly squashed, but the Knicks began to win, first one game, then a second and third. Another rumor began that the Zen Master would join New York in the front office. It seemed hard to believe that Jackson would want to join a team in such shambles, but the rumor was propelling the Knicks to succeed with a fourth and fifth straight win.
Finally when it was announced Jackson would join the Knicks’ front office and have control of all operations, New York won its sixth straight. Next came the big test, one that may just end New York’s late-season playoff push, in the Indiana Pacers. Broadcasted on ESPN in the prime-time slot, Jackson decided to attend the game at Madison Square Garden. Had you not read the info description, you would have thought it was a two-hour tribute to Jackson, not a game, but wouldn’t you know that New York won its seventh-straight game.
Is it possible that just the thought and presence of Jackson has fixed the Knicks? Is it possible that the Zen Master is so powerful that his name is the remedy for struggling franchises? Over the last seven games (played mostly throughout the Jackson saga), the Knicks have averaged 111.3 points a game compared to their season average of 98.8. Not only has the offense been on-point, but the defense has turned around, giving up only 95 points during the seven-game win streak. They are giving up 99.9 points on the season.
You can make the argument that New York hasn’t played any quality teams, other than the Pacers, but they have been blowing those teams out. I picked the Knicks to sneak into the playoffs in the No. 8 spot, and it looks like it will happen because of the power the name “Phil Jackson” holds. Everyone from the players to the coaching staff are going through a tryout right now. Jackson could gut the entire franchise if he so chooses, so everyone is fighting for their job. That is enough to get the players straightened out, the coaches’ heads on straight and and team into the playoffs. Jackson hasn’t even done anything and it looks like he has already fixed the Knicks.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.