With some recent moves by the Knicks brain trust led by Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks have put themselves back in the playoff conversation. It is clear that since Phil has come to New York he is not going to put up with any nonsense. He immediately traded away Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler following the season allowing for the Knicks to acquire an upgrade at point guard in Jose Calderon.
Another thing to note is that the Knicks usually have had poor coaching staffs and losing attitudes in the past. Because of this, Jackson was able to hire Derek Fisher, an NBA champion, as the head coach. Also, another NBA champion in Kurt Rambis was hired to be an assistant to Fisher. It is clear that Phil is trying to create a winning circle in the coaching staff and establishing the mentality that losing and poor behavior will not be tolerated.
This kind of management is a breath of fresh air for the Knicks; considering that owner James Dolan is always finding a way to embarrass the team. Recent draft pick Cleanthony Early seemed to be the steal of the NBA draft. With the recent addition of Early and the development of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert; it would appear that the Knicks are building a nice nucleus of players. Carmelo Anthony can rest easy knowing that he has an 11-time champion now manning the ship. And that champion is Phil Jackson.
With the Eastern Conference being weak and void of several good teams, the Knicks seem to be right in the playoff mix. Phil has a few things left he must do before the season starts. First, Jackson needs to find a solid big man down low that can anchor the Knicks front court. Also, Jackson must cut J.R. Smith to get rid of his attitude and negative affect on the team. If Phil can get these two things done before opening day, the Knicks will be in great shape.
It is hard for Knicks fans to be optimistic coming off of last season's train wreck, but things are definitely looking up for Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.