Phil Jackson believes Knicks will make the playoffs

14 Comments

Five NBA teams held their respective Media Days on Friday, and the rest of them will do so this Monday. It’s the official beginning of the new season, when hope springs eternal for all 30 franchises.

The optimism was flowing freely at the Knicks training facility, where Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher met with the media in advance of New York’s Monday event. And while the team as currently constructed doesn’t exactly scream success, Jackson believes the Knicks have enough talent in place to make a return to the playoffs this season.

From The Associated Press:

“We believe we’re going to be a playoff team,” Jackson said Friday, “and then we don’t know how far we’ll be able to go, but we’re hoping for the best.” …

“This team does not got a personality. It’s got over 35 percent of this team has changed, so we still have to kind of come together in a bonding way that creates trust, teamwork, identity, some things like that.”

It’s not as far-fetched as it may seem on the surface.

Sure, the Knicks suffered through a dismal 2014 campaign that was marred by injuries, questionable coaching, and a lack of discipline. But the year before, New York finished second in the Eastern Conference with 54 wins, and won a playoff series for the first time in 13 years.

The loss of Tyson Chandler will hurt, but the addition of Jose Calderon should be a huge boost at point guard, considering just how bad the play was at that position last year. And, Jackson coaching by proxy from the front office through Derek Fisher should bring a cohesive plan and a respected system that the players can buy into from day one.

The East only has about six teams that should be firmly penciled in for spots in the postseason. After that, it get murky fairly quickly, and if things come together ahead of schedule in New York, it’s not inconceivable that the Knicks could sneak in and grab one of those precious final spots.