Phil Jackson's desired win total for the New York Knicks last season was said to be 35, according to a recent submission from Today's Fastbreak.
Waiting to hear Jackson's expectations for last season this summer is a little peculiar. That said, it's worth noting that more urgency is undoubtedly needed as the Knicks head into yet another training camp in Jackson's tenure.
Coming from a franchise-worst 17 wins the season before, netting 35 wins would have more than doubled the Knicks' victory total. Often times when a team is able to do that, they should garner praise.
But alas, that wouldn't have been enough for New York. The fact is the 17-win campaign should never have happened in the first place. As such, any subsequent success after that should not be using that season's failure as any type of benchmark or jumping off point.
Drafting Kristaps Porzingis and bringing in players like Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez, the Knicks surely looked better than a 32-win team on paper. The 35-win expectation shouldn't have been enough, either. The roster was improved, but the decision to retain Derek Fisher heading into the season clearly held the team back.
This coming season should be different. Not only did Jackson make changes to the roster, but he did so while making quite an overall splash this offseason. This team not only looks "better," but it should be easier to declare that this type of improvement should, one way or another, lead to a playoff birth. In the Eastern Conference, that should mean hovering around a .500 record at the bare minimum.
Such a splash has obviously included a coaching change this time around as well. Thus, there should be optimism in the air. Expectations are well known at this point, regardless of whether or not Jackson wants to declare them publicly this time around. It's playoffs or bust, and it shouldn't make a difference where the Knicks were last season, because they shouldn't have been struggling so mightily at the beginning. There needs to be a change in culture that ultimately leads to more victories and overall success. Anything less is unacceptable.