Optimism and confidence is of utmost importance in sports, and Phil Jackson clearly understands the value of such positive thinking. No doubt hoping to work his Zen Master magic on his team, Jackson said the New York Knicks believe they will be a playoff team this season.
Crazier things have happened, we suppose, but the Knicks earning a postseason birth in 2014-2015 would count as a minor shock nonetheless. New York went 37-45 last season, failing to make the playoffs in an Eastern Conference that was far weaker than today’s.
Recent futility doesn’t mean the Knicks won’t defy expectations this year, of course. They could certainly improve under the tutelage of Jackson and Derek Fisher, and the former’s insistence that Carmelo Anthony stands to benefit from the offensive system they will implement supports that possibility. Jackson’s contention that the team’s chemistry will be improved as a result of trading Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton does, too.
But even accounting for those strides, the Knicks stand to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, and Brooklyn Nets – in our estimation, at least – are clearly a cut above New York. That likelihood leaves New York without a postseason spot even before considering improvements from a team like the Detroit Pistons and the chance that the Indiana Pacers can withstand the loss of Paul George and Lance Stephenson.
The unexpected happens in the NBA, though, and injuries could certainly knock one of those superior teams down a peg to the Knicks’ level. Even then, though, it wouldn’t render Jackson’s expectation fool-proof – New York simply doesn’t have the talent to be considered anything more than playoff long-shots.
Jackson works magic, and it would be remiss to discount New York entirely. We aren’t doing that, but instead acknowledging the Knicks’ humbling place within a conference that is suddenly not so terrible in the upper- and middle- classes.
Do you think the Knicks will make the playoffs??
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