Tuesday 18th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Phil Jackson Warned Lakers They’d Be Sorry for Passing on Kristaps Porzingis

image Porzingis
Don’t ever say Phil Jackson didn’t try and help the Los Angeles Lakers while he was president of the New York Knicks.

Leading up to last year’s NBA draft, the Zen Master apparently cautioned the Lakers, who owned the No. 2 pick, against passing on Kristaps Porzingis, who ended up in New York at No. 4. Here’s what Jackson said of the matter on MSG Network, per UPROXX’s Chris Morgan:

Why is this notable? Jackson is the President of the Knicks, and he’s the one who actually picked Porzingis. Speaking to the MSG Network, Jackson had this to say of his team’s budding superstar: “We knew that he 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 the workout: ‘You guys are going to be sorry if you don’t pick up Porzingis with the second pick.’ They didn’t, we did.”

Oh, um, awesome.

This could be an overreaction, but it also seems like a dangerous thing to direct toward a rival. Karl-Anthony Towns may have been the consensus No. 1 pick by that point last year, but No. 2 was still firmly in limbo. Porzingis wasn’t receiving a huge amount of publish consideration, but he was in the discussion.

What if the Lakers had actually taken him? The Philadelphia 76ers would have graciously, and wisely, selected D’Angelo Russell, leaving the Knicks with Jahlil Okafor, whose entire upside is founded upon a shot clock-killing post game.

Fortunately for the Knicks, it didn’t go down that way. They landed Porzingis, who instantly brightened the future. All’s well that ends well.

Maybe next year, in 2018, when the Knicks have a first-round pick again, Jackson shouldn’t try coaxing other teams into drafting players he supposedly wants. You know, just to be safe.

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