This Monday morning, New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher has been fired after his squad lost 9 out of their last 10 games which puts them far behind in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Associate head coach Kurt Rambis has been named interim head coach through at least the remainder of the season. Rambis hasn’t necessarily been a great coach thus far however. While he was head coach for 2 seasons in Minnesota, he was 56-145.
”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 had started here at the beginning of the year,” President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson said at the team’s practice facility.
Before this decision, the Knicks fell to 23-31 a little more than halfway through Fisher’s second season in New York, once again, losing 9-of-10 previous games, and dropped his overall coaching record to 40-96. Jackson hired one of his best former point guards in Fisher June 2014, almost immediately after he concluded his playing career. Jackson ranted and raved about Fisher’s work ethic and knowledge of the game for the past one and a half seasons, but due to the recent struggles of the team, he decided it was time to make a move.
”I think it was nine losses out of the last 10 games. I think it’s the business of winning. I think that obviously there’s some games in which we didn’t get off to a very good start recently,” Jackson said. ”But I think Derek was prepared, I think he took this business seriously, I think he was a dedicated worker. So some of that onus is on the players and I let them know that today.”
Fisher thanked Phil Jackson, Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan, players and his coaching staff following his firing.
”This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed,” Fisher said in a statement he made. ”Obviously, I’m disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it.”
New York went 17-65 last season, but are expected to do a lot better than that this year after they improved their roster, drafting Kristaps Porzingis and signing Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez.
This decision was made because of what happened earlier this year, mixed with the way the team is playing at this point. Remember during training camp, when Derek got into an altercation with former teammate Matt Barnes when he was at Barnes’ wife house in California? That was seen as very unprofessional and the only reason he was still the coach of New York for as long as he was is because of expectations and success through half of the season.
Derek is a good coach, and will be one of the premier coaches in the NBA some day, but he needs to start as an assistant coach somewhere, on a team that he knows well, (Lakers, or Thunder?). Him jumping into a head coaching position immediately after this firing would be a mistake for him.