After 49 days, Phil Jackson finally got his guy. Nothing has become official yet, but since the Golden State Warriors have Steve Kerr in hand, there aren’t many teams remaining that would want to snatch up Derek Fisher at the last second. Unless, of course, Jeanie Buss is looking to stir up her marriage a bit.
Hiring a coach with no experience seems to be the flashy new trend in the NBA, and since the Nets went ahead and hired Jason Kidd just 10 days after he played in his final game, the Knicks hired Fisher in just nine. Point, Knicks.
Much like Kidd was in Brooklyn, Fisher is likely to be surrounded by a staff with prior experience. Names like Kurt Rambis and Bill Cartwright have been floated around, and they both make a ton of sense given their relationship with Phil and knowledge of the triangle. Once again, the fans have continued to opine for Patrick Ewing, but unless the Knicks get their hands on a seven-foot bruiser, his addition wouldn’t exactly fit.
What Fisher lacks in hands-on experience is made up for with leadership and a winning attitude. Nobody has played in, and won, more playoff games than Fish. Not Michael Jordan. Not Tim Duncan. Not anyone. Even more impressive than earning Phil’s respect is earning Kobe Bryant’s, and that’s exactly what Fisher was able to do over the course 256 playoff games. Fisher won 161 of those, all while leading the NBA as President of the Player’s Union during the hardest of times.
Considering the organization had their heart set on Kerr, Fisher isn’t a bad consolation prize. He and Jackson both have a mutual respect for each other and a relationship that goes beyond the basketball court. Jackson now has an intelligent basketball mind to mold into his prodige, and Fisher has someone to lean on when things inevitably aren’t going his way.
There will be some bumps along the road, but repairing the Knicks is no quick-fix. Patience will need to be had with Fisher, and it’ll be unfair to judge him at any point during the 2014-15 season. The Knicks have an eye on the future, and now they have a coach of the future to go along with it. Let the grooming begin.
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