Phil Jackson made the surprising decision to fire head coach Derek Fisher, but Carmelo Anthony will not waver in his trust of the legendary head coach and New York Knicks president.
ESPN’s Ian Begley notes Anthony admitted while he wasn’t expecting the change, Jackson has to have a plan.
“This is something I didn’t see coming, [that] nobody saw coming. So you have to continue to put your trust into Phil. At this point, what could you do? Can’t shy away from that. Can’t go against it. So for me, it’s continue. I have to trust in it. I decided to stay here. I decided to make that decision to trust in the Knicks and trust in Phil. I have to continue doing that.”
New York fired Fisher after the team started 23-31, which certainly isn’t spectacular. Considering the club finished a franchise-worst 17-65 last season, though, the Knicks have showed noteworthy improvement.
However, that’s partially because of Jackson’s highest draft pick — one that was met with mixed reviews. CBS Sports and Bleacher Report both gave the selection of Kristaps Porzingis an A, while Sports Illustrated the pick at a C+. And ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, well, he was remarkably unhappy.
As we reach the All-Star break, it’s clear the risky choice was the proper course of action.
Rather than picking a familiar name with role-player upside, Jackson and the Knicks seem to have added a potential franchise leader. The 20-year-old Porzingis is averaging 13.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Carmelo had the chance to leave last offseason as an unrestricted free agent, but he trusted Jackson would improve the roster. The Zen Master did exactly that. In addition to drafting Porzingis and Jerian Grant, New York signed Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo.
Those transactions have helped the Knicks leave the cellar of the NBA and no longer be an afterthought in the playoff picture.
Maybe the latest move won’t pay off, but for now: In Jackson Melo trusts.