Since Jeff Van Gundy left the team in 2001, the New York Knicks have had one coach that has coached more than 3 years, and that was Mike D’Antoni. You read that correct, only one coach, in the past 18 years has coached more than 3 seasons. The Knicks have had coaches such as Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Mike Woodson, and more recently, David Fizdale. None of those coaches coached more than 200 games in New York before they left the team.
Now we can sit here and find many reasons as to why this is the case. Maybe the teams that they coached weren’t all that great, or maybe the pressure in one of the biggest markets in sports was too much to handle. Whatever reason you may come up with, I tend to point my finger at one James L. Dolan. Dolan is the Executive Chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company, which is the holding company that owns the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. I’m not going to get into why Dolan is to blame for everything that’s wrong with the Knicks because frankly, I don’t have that kind of time.
What I want to talk about is the vacant coaching position that the New York Knickerbockers have….again. Many people thought that David Fizdale would’ve lasted for the Knicks (myself included). But with a 21-83 record, it just didn’t pan out for 45-year-old Fizdale. Many analysts will now try to make projections on who the Knicks need to hire, but I’m here to tell you there’s only one person that should have the Knicks head coaching job, and that’s Mark Jackson.
I tend to get a lot of hate for this, but I truly believe that the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t be anything without Mark Jackson. Mark Jackson took over the Warriors in 2011, and had a rough first year where Golden State went 23-43 in the shortened 66 game season. But after that year, in 2012, Jackson led the Warriors to the Western Conference Semifinals and went 51-31 in 2013, however, the team lost to the Clippers in 7 games.
Jackson’s exit from the team in 2014 was said by Warriors owner Joe Lacob to be because Jackson “couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization”, which reportedly drew the ire of star point guard Steph Curry, who had a close relationship with Jackson. I don’t know how true Lacob’s claims are, but I could imagine in a culture like the Knicks, where losing is all your team has known for more than a decade, you may rile some feathers when you first come in. As long as you’re winning or building a foundation to win, it shouldn’t matter. But once again, Dolan is the unknown.
Another reason I say Jackson is the only choice for the Knicks is simply because of New York. New York is a weird market for players and coaches alike. New York fans will love you and hate you all in the same week, but if they respect you, New York fans will stay behind you through a lot. Mark Jackson is New York. He was born in Brooklyn, went to high school at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn. It didn’t stop there either. Jackson attended St. John’s University in Queens, New York, all before being drafted by the Knicks in the 1987 NBA draft. Not many players get to play high school, college, and professional ball for their home city, but Jackson did, and he captured the hearts of all New York Knicks fans.
Jackson should’ve been named head coach before the David Fizdale hiring, but it just didn’t happen. This is the Knicks’ second chance. Get the guy that your fans want you to have. Get one of the best players your franchise has had, and put him in charge. Most importantly, James Dolan needs to step as far back as he can and let the people the team has put in place formulate a plan to stick to. Success isn’t going to happen in one year. It takes time, but when your impatient like ol’ Jimmy Dolan is, you’re just resetting the clock each time you fire a coach or blow up the roster. Either that…or he needs to sell the team.
Featured Photo: Mike Rosa – Game Changer Sports Network
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