Phil Jackson has been rebuilding the New York Knicks for the past two years and many have criticized him until they saw Kristaps Porzingis play. Porzingis had an explosive rookie year and most Knicks’ fans are thanking Jackson for the fourth pick of the 2015-2016 NBA draft.
Recently, in an inteview with the NY Post, Jackson said that after evaluating Porzingis, he warned the Los Angeles Lakers that they would be sorry if they did not take Porzingis second:
“We knew that [Porzingis] had a lot of talent. We saw that even in the workout with him shooting, and I had some fun with one of the Buss guys and I told him after [our] workout, ‘You guys are going to be sorry if you don’t pick up Porzingis with the second pick.’ They didn’t, we did.”
“Watching him in the summer league, we thought he was really competitive, that’s what we wanted to see in the tapes study we did,’’ Jackson added. “But when we saw that he had the stamina to play 28 to 32 minutes, well, we thought maybe he was going to be a 20-to-22-minute guy because of his strength and his lack of size or weight. But we knew how competitive, and what an athletic talent he was, really to be able to have that stamina.’’
“One of the things that distinguished the relationship that I had with Derek is that perhaps I anticipated that the support staff that he had with him was going to be really influential in his learning experience, and [I was] trying to stay away from him because there was so much attention about he was one of my former players and he hadn’t been a coach,’’ Jackson said. “So my input was limited. Last year I started having more input in the relationship. … That’s the thing that I really think makes sense for good organizations — is that there are no boundaries between the coach, general manager, and president.
“If someone’s got something to contribute, then we want to hear it, we want to bring it up. We’ve got a video guy that’s coming to us and saying, ‘You gotta look at this’ — this is what we think is important, it should happen. We want to have an open opportunity for them to express that. So those are things that are really important.”
–via New York Post
Whether you agree with Jackson or not, Jackson has been dubbed the greatest basketball coach of all time, so his opinion matters some what. Lakers’ fans will probably not be too happy or at least they would argue that Russell is a better pick than Porzingis.
With the 2016-2017 NBA Draft coming soon, Lakers’ fans hope to get Brandon Ingram as they repeat picking second in the draft. Hopefully they will snag someone that will fit will with D’Angelo Russell.