As the New York Knicks limp towards the merciful end of a calamitous season, tagged with an NBA worst 14-61 record, team president Phil Jackson continues to sell the fanbase on an optimistic future.
Jackson and Knicks general manager Steve Mills held a 45-minute “open conversation” Thursday night in front of an invite-only crowd of roughly 300 folks, and the Zen Master said this awful season may end up being a “godsend”.
While trying to shift the focus away from the failures to incorporate the Triangle Offense—“Shit happens,” Jackson said to laughter. “That’s something that we all know. . . . And this season it did happen to us”—Jackson declared that defense would be a priority going forward for these Knickerbockers.
Phil now says "Forget about the triangle." Well, you brought it up Ad nauseam when u were hired & Jim Dolan had Spike make a movie about it.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) April 2, 2015
Per the NY Times:
In the opening minutes of an event for Knicks’ season-ticket holders on Thursday night, Phil Jackson used the words acrimonious, sublimate and gestalt. It all sounded very impressive, and perhaps that was part of Jackson’s strategy — that despite being neck-deep in a ramshackle season, Jackson remains in control as team president, with a firm plan for the future. […] “We knew we were going to have to take this team apart to get to where we want to go,” Jackson said at Madison Square Garden. “It may be a godsend in the end result.”
The Knicks (14-61) have already assured themselves of owning the worst winning percentage in franchise history. Jackson did acknowledge that the season had been a disaster. […] “I would have never thought that something like this could happen,” said Jackson, who blamed the news media for putting undue pressure on the team and for shining too bright of a spotlight on the triangle offense. “The season became convoluted because everybody wanted to discuss the triangle and how the triangle was going to perform.”
“A first draft pick can move the whole organization,” Jackson said. “Patrick Ewing did in the early ‘80s. We want to see if that player is the one who can move the whole franchise ahead.” […] Jackson was asked if he knew whom he would take with the first pick. “You know, I do,” he said. […] When he declined to elaborate, the audience was left to rummage for clues. Clue No. 1: Jackson said he valued defense over offense when it came to post players. Clue No. 2: Jackson slipped and said “Okafor” (Jahlil Okafor) when he was trying to refer to Michael Olowokandi, a former top overall pick (and notorious bust). The mistake elicited an excited reaction from those in attendance.