Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is a changed man. He’s playing the final few games of his NBA career and seems really mellow now. The ultra competitive future NBA Hall of Fame inductee wasn’t always like that. Bryant also did not always get along with Phil Jackson when he was the Lakers head coach. That relationship is better now. According to ESPN, Kobe has instructed New York Knicks fans to have faith in Jackson being able to rebuild the team and making them good again.
On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the New York Knicks. Kobe Bryant was asked about his former head coach and his new job. The 6’7″, 220 forward did not hesitate to tell people to have faith in Phil Jackson. Bryant stated that the Knicks president knows more about basketball than the fans combined. Kobe also made sure to mention that he believes that Jackson is the best coach of all time, regardless of what sport anyone is talking about.
Phil Jackson has come under fire lately. The New York Knicks fan base has been known to be fickle at times. This is the same bunch that mercilessly booed Kristaps Porzingis during the NBA Draft. They felt he was going to be a bust. Porzingis instead showed potential to be an All Star some day. Since the Knicks are likely to miss the playoffs again this season, many of the fans have been questioning the moves that Jackson has made as the team president.
A lot of people questioned Phil Jackson when he signed Robin Lopez to what seemed like a massive contract. Many were under the impression that he was simply an average center in the NBA and didn’t deserve that type of money. Lopez put on his hard hat and started doing all the dirty work for the Knicks in the paint. His presence helped Kristaps Porzingis develop into a capable player in the National Basketball Association much sooner than expected, so Robin seems worth every penny now.
There were also those that questioned Phil Jackson for signing Derrick Williams. Many considered him an NBA bust because he never lived up to the hype behind being the second overall selection in the NBA Draft in 2011. Williams might never become a superstar in the National Basketball Association, but he’s seemingly found his home with the New York Knicks, providing them with scoring off the bench and being a solid starter whenever Kristaps Porzingis needs a night off.
When the New York Knicks signed Arron Afflalo, many felt that it was an underwhelming signing by Phil Jackson. Fans wanted something flashier. Jackson stayed true to his goal of playing it smart in free agency. The Afflalo signing has turned out to be a brilliant move. There are nights where Arron seems like the best player no the court for the Knicks. Afflalo has the chance to become a free agent this summer, so there should be plenty of interest from NBA teams.
Phil Jackson should at least get another off season before New York Knicks fans decide if he has done a good job or not. The team is scheduled to have approximately $18 million in salary cap space, which means that they can sign a pretty good player. If Jackson becomes a bit more creative, he can clear enough salary cap space to sign a superstar. Kevin Durant is going to be on the market this summer, so if Jackson can get him to join the Knicks, then all of the criticism will go out the window.
Kobe Bryant still has faith in Phil Jackson, and he wants New York Knicks fans to do the same.
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