NEW YORK—It didn’t take a full two seasons for President of the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson to make his evaluation of head coach Derek Fisher. After a fifth straight loss, and losing nine of their last ten games, Fisher was fired on Monday, February 8.
ESPN reporters Ramona Shelburne and Ian Begley first reported the release of Fisher.
Fisher played for the Los Angeles Lakers while Phil Jackson was the head coach of the organization. They won five NBA championships together.
The former Laker expressed his disappointment as well as gratitude in a statement he posted to his Twitter account:
— DerekFisher (@derekfisher) February 10, 2016
Fisher was brought into New York to replace Mike Woodson who had a 109-79 record with the Knicks, but was only able to win one playoff series. The new hire called Fisher to run Jackson’s esteemed triangle offense that the two had so much success with back in Los Angeles.
He was never able to translate his playing success to the coaching ranks. In his first season at the helm (2014-2015), the Knicks finished with an abysmal record of 17-65, good enough for last place in the Eastern Conference, and second to last in the entire NBA.
This season the Knicks have expanded the talent on the team with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, Arron Afflalo, and Robin Lopez, but they remain towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings.
The recent struggles, as stated earlier, contributed greatly to Jackson making the decision to relieve Fisher of his duties before the All-Star break, but a change for a new head coach was beginning to look predetermined as the players were not responding to the leadership and tutelage of Fisher.
Assistant Coach Kurt Rambis will take over as the Interim Head Coach. He has an overall head coaching record of 56-145 with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009 to the 2011 season and including 37 games with the Lakers during the 1998-1999 season. This begs the question, is this just a temporary solution?
Time will tell if Phil Jackson is willing to expand his search to coaches that run an offense other than the triangle. But for the time being, the Knicks needed some sort of change to push the talent on the floor to translate in the win column.