For as good of a motivator as he was as an NBA coach, Phil Jackson was that bad at being a personnel person (except for drafting Kristaps) and made numerous questionable moves while demanding his team play a style from the 1990s.
One area where he was particularly bad: free agent recruiting.
We have probably all heard about him not being able to get his computer to work during a free agent pitch, but I feel like that has happened to all of us at some point.
That apparently was more the norm than an exception, here is an excerpt from an Adrian Wojnarowski piece on ESPN:
“I heard some horror stories about Phil in presentation situations with players – unprepared, just disorganized. And sometimes, he’d have Steve Mills in there, who’d try to re-direct him. But I know of a couple players who walked out of meetings in a couple different free-agent scenarios and, “Wow, that was Phil Jackson? That’s now how I imagined he’d be.”
Yikes. I feel like it has got to be pretty easy to schmooze an NBA free agent by pampering them, building them up, drawing a vision of what their experience would be with an organization and putting on their best charm. That was apparently far too much to ask for Jackson and the Knicks.
With his reputation for going off to Montana as he pleased, being in the building and making an effort of any kind seems like an accomplishment for him.
Only the Knicks…