Atlantic Notes: Ross, Jackson, Fisher

Knicks president Phil Jackson has indicated that he won’t be attending next month’s NBA draft lottery, which is something the Zen Master needs to rethink, opines Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. It’s important for Jackson to represent New York at the event not only for him to take ownership of the team’s 17-win season, but to show potential free agents that he is indeed a hands on executive working to right the ship, Isola adds.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors‘ patience with Terrence Ross is beginning to pay dividends during this season’s NBA playoffs, Mike Ganter of The Toronto Sun writes. It took coach Dwane Casey removing him from the starting lineup midway through the season to accomplish it, but the forward’s focus on the defensive end has improved greatly during the second half of the 2014/15 campaign, Ganter notes. “The bench is a great motivator sometimes,” Casey said. “You don’t want to wear that out but I think he had a chance to sit back and watch and see what he needed to do and he’s done it.” Ross is eligible to ink a rookie scale extension this summer.
  • Derek Fisher, reflecting on his rookie season as Knicks coach, was appreciative of the effort that his players provided him throughout the team’s dismal 2014/15 campaign, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “I’m thankful for each and every one of them regardless if they’re back or not,’’ Fisher said. “These guys will always be my first team, no matter what. Any success we have as an organization or me as a coach will start from there and from these guys. I think a number of them can be back. But at this point, I respect them too much to start trying to determine who that should or shouldn’t be. They’ve given this organization a lot.’’
  • Though the Knicks‘ roster is expected to undergo a significant overhaul this offseason, 2014 second-rounder Cleanthony Early is one player whom the team considers part of its future, Ian Begley of writes. The 24-year-old didn’t live up to the team’s expectations this season, averaging just 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 39 appearances. Injuries certainly played a factor, with Early dealing with knee and ankle issues the entire campaign, Begley notes.

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