New York Knicks president Phil Jackson is hopeful he acquired the two superstars who will lead the Knicks to multiple championships in the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday night at Nos. 34 and 51 of the 2nd Round.
“My critics always say that I only won championships because my teams had perhaps the two best players in the game of their eras,” said Jackson. “I disagree. That said, it really helps. And I hope Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.”
The Knicks initially had no picks in the 2014 draft, but Jackson swung a deal with the Mavericks earlier in the week that landed the team two 2nd Round picks — causing great excitement for a traditionally pick-poor franchise looking to rebuild.
“Ideally you’d have picks 1 and 2, or two picks in the lottery, or at least one in the first round,” said Knicks owner James Dolan. “But if you think about it, if the NBA expanded by a few teams, pick 34 would be a first round pick. So we’re pretty excited. If anyone can get superstars long after all the good players are taken, it’s Phil Jackson. That’s why we hired him.”
Jackson said there are clear similarities between Early and Antetokounmpo and his duos of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Both Scottie and Cleanthony are in that 6-7, 6-8 range, both went to smaller schools and both shot 45-percent from the floor as freshman,” said Jackson. “And Thanasis is a very unique name like Shaquille. I’m hoping I can just plug these guys into the triangle offense and let the magic happen.”
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