In unsurprising news, the New York Knicks have fired head coach Derek Fisher. Fisher now joins David Blatt and Jeff Hornacek as head coaches to get the axe this season. While Blatt’s firing was somewhat of a surprise, the firing of Derek Fisher was a long time coming. After going 17-65 last season, the Knicks were 23-31 with Fisher running the controls this year. While that’s some slight improvement, it’s not enough, especially in a huge market like New York.
Fisher was originally hired by Phil Jackson, as he was a point guard in Jackson’s famous triangle offense. It was thought Fisher would bring the success from his time in a Lakers uniform across the country to the sidelines in New York. Following the offseason acquisitions of veterans Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo alongside fourth overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, who has been very impressive as a rookie, New York was expected to make serious strides in Fisher’s second season.
New York has been looking for a championship ever since they acquired Carmelo Anthony in 2011 from the Denver Nuggets. With Anthony leading the attack, New York hasn’t gone past the second round of the playoffs and have failed to miss the playoffs the last two seasons.
New York was in the mix for a low playoff seed, but have lost nine out of their last 10, putting them five games out of the eighth and final spot in the East.
The firing of Fisher comes at a critical time in the season. Being five games out with still two months left to play is certainly manageable, but with the way the team had been performing under Fisher, it was time to let him go.
Kurt Rambis will take over for Fisher, and he has Los Angeles connections as well. Rambis had previously coached and played for the Lakers, and had also coached the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to his time in New York.
Immediately after it was reported that Fisher was out, a couple candidates for the opening were Luke Walton and Brian Shaw, both of whom played in LA. Walton made headlines this year as he took over the coaching duties in Golden State for Steve Kerr, who was out recovering from offseason surgery. Shaw was the coach of the Nuggets, but odds are he would return to coach to be alongside Phil Jackson once again.
New York used to be a place where people would love to play. Playing at Madison Square Garden in the bright lights of New York is appealing to just about every player in the league. It’s a big market city that adores its players and is expected to contend for a championship, even though the Knicks haven’t won an NBA title since 1973. But with the current state of New York basketball in general, the Knicks won’t attract many star players to join Carmelo to try and bring a championship to New York.
The firing of Derek Fisher shows that the Knicks are in crisis mode. Fisher played under Phil Jackson for years, but Jackson understands the pressure of winning in big markets, because he’s done it in Chicago and Los Angeles. Time is ticking for New York to make a move with Carmelo Anthony still in his prime years. Maybe a new head coach could get another star to come to New York and finally give Knicks fans what they’ve been wanting for so long.
Cover Photo via NorthJersey.com