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Last year's ranking: 102
Title track: 112
Fan relations: 122
Stadium experience: 91
Bang for the buck: 115
The Knicks need a new outlook -- a dose of Eastern Conference philosophy from newly hired team president Phil Jackson; the Zen Master has been tasked with turning around the franchise's fortunes in his front-office debut. But can a man with more rings than fingers still point at the moon? Whoa. Deep. If glory is truly found in rising after a fall, last year's 37-win flop (after 54 wins in 2012-13) presents nothing but opportunity. And seeming to believe that only the hand that erases can write the true thing, Jackson fired much-maligned coach Mike Woodson and overhauled the roster.
Across the board, our rankings provide Jackson with a wealth of opportunity: The Knicks fell in each of the eight categories and by at least 20 spots in six of them. First on Jackson's to-do list should be teaching star forward Carmelo Anthony that the most important thing is to know what is the most important thing, after Melo took a lucrative deal to continue jacking 39 shots a game. But the one-man show needs help; the Knicks rank dead last in players, as Jackson waits for roughly $20 million in cap space that's due to open up next summer.
The Knicks must also remember that if they take care of fans, fans will take care of them. The team came in last in fan relations and second to last in affordability (a ticket 2.5 times the league average doesn't help) and rank in the bottom eight in bang for the buck and ownership. Yeah, that ownership. The meddlesome James Dolan has promised to stay out of Jackson's way when it comes to basketball decisions, because just as Jackson will rely on his time-proven method, Dolan must give it time to work. After all, only the wisest and most dull-witted are unchangeable.