Phil Jackson's blueprint for success

March, 14, 2014
3/14/14
9:55
PM ET

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Phil Jackson is the new president for the New York Knicks, according to sources.
Phil Jackson has signed to be the new president of the New York Knicks, according to sources. He returns to the franchise with which he played 10 seasons, including two championship seasons in 1969-70 and 1972-73.

A career that overshadows a franchise

The Knicks are hoping that Phil Jackson’s success as a coach translates to the front office. Since 1989-90, when Jackson first became a head coach, he has defined success while the Knicks have been inconsistent.

Jackson has 1,155 regular-season wins since he became a head coach in 1989, 139 more than the Knicks. Jackson's teams are a total of 335 games over .500 in the regular season, while the Knicks are a total of 46 games over .500 during the span in which Jackson has been a head coach.

Jackson immediately brings an elite playoff pedigree to the Knicks franchise. Jackson’s 13 NBA Finals appearances in 20 seasons as a coach are more than the Knicks have in their entire 68-season history.

Improved bad teams as head coach

Jackson will inherit a Knicks team that has underperformed. That was nothing new to Phil Jackson during his head coaching career.

Jackson had three different head coaching stints in his career -- and he improved the team's win percentage significantly in his first season each time, including leading the Lakers to the title in 1999-2000.

Jackson won 11 NBA titles as a head coach, the most in NBA history. He has never had a losing season in the NBA as a head coach. His worst record was 42-40 with the Lakers in 2006-07.

Blueprint for success: Pat Riley

Phil Jackson has a blueprint for success for jumping from the sideline to the front office thanks to Pat Riley.

According to Chris Broussard, Jackson will be paid $12 million over five years. Riley's services also came at a high price. Heat owner Micky Arison acquired Riley's rights from the Knicks for one million dollars and a first round draft pick in 1995 (that pick eventually turned into Walter McCarty).

Many fans have pointed to Riley's “blueprint” as a sign of hope. Jackson should not expect to win right away. Riley built the Heat steadily by acquiring assets and then flipping them for high quality players when they became available.

The most notable example of this is when Riley eventually had enough cap space to sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency to join Dwyane Wade before the 2010-11 season. Riley won executive of the year that season. Prior to that blockbuster, Riley made a trade for Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

The Heat have been in the NBA Finals in every season since those signings, winning twice.

Hall of Fame executives

Jackson joins a list of 13 other men who were in the Hall of Fame and in charge of a team's personnel department simultaneously. That list includes Riley, Red Auerbach, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Kevin McHale, Joe Dumars, Dan Issel, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere and Wayne Embry.

Auerbach, West, Bird, Baylor and Dumars each won the Executive of the Year award.

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