By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The New York Knicks have fired head coach Derek Fisher. He was hand-picked by Knicks president Phil Jackson, and he lasted a year and a half with his mentor.
The Knicks are 23-31 this season and they were just 17-65 in his first-year as the Knicks head coach.
Fisher did not have previous head coaching experience, but his mentor was able to overlook that. Jackson tried to get Steve Kerr to take over the team, but he declined to do so, as he hand-picked the Golden State Warriors team.
With the Warriors, Kerr was able to guide the team to the The Finals Championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer. For Jackson, that had to be hurtful, as one of his former Bulls player wouldn’t take the job that he wanted him to do so, then won the championship months later.
The team’s losing this season hasn’t done any favors for Fisher, who reportedly had a hard time transitioning from a player to a coach, according to ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst.
Fisher came on board to help turn the Knicks franchise around. However, in the two seasons, the team has barely improved as they’ve only one six more games than last season through mid-season.
Fisher and Jackson had previously had a relationship dating back to when Fisher played for the Jackson-led Los Angeles Lakers teams. He was the point guard for the Lakers team when they won five championships.
“I know it’s a relief for him, taking away some of that stress from the job,” Jackson said. “It’s also a person I have a long relation with and care deeply about and hope for his success. It’s time for us to make a change, turn this team around and move forward and get some wins and keep going down the road we started here at the beginning of the year.”
Fisher replaced Mike Woodson, who went 109-79 in parts of three seasons with the team. Woodson won only one playoff series as the Knicks head coach, and several players were disappointed when he was fired, especially Carmelo Anthony.
Right now, the Knicks are the 12th team in the Eastern Conference. Only the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have worse records than the Knicks.
The Knicks added several free agents in the off-season in Derrick Williams, Robin Lopez, Aaron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn (sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic), Kevin Séraphin and Sasha Vujačić. The team also used their fourth overall pick to draft Kristaps Porziņģis.
“This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed,” Fisher added. “Obviously, I’m disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it.”