The New York Knicks fired Derek Fisher after a year and half on the job. Last season he barely had an NBA roster and the Knicks won 17 games. Carmelo Anthony missed a lot of games but the Knicks got a top 5 pick which turned out to be Kristaps Porzingis. The kid can really play and has won Eastern Conference rookie of the month each month this season. So now New York is 23-31 this season which is an improvement but they are 1-9 in their last 10 games. They started games slowly but why fire Fisher now?
It had to go beyond basketball for Phil Jackson to fire Fisher at this point in the season. The Knicks added better players but still have many holes to fill. They are slightly improved but they get off to slow starts and that has led to this recent 1-9 record. Phil also believes they should be competing for a playoff spot in the East. The East is tougher this year and the top nine teams are at least at .500. It’s hard for the Knicks to win with Melo being banged up at times and their second best player being a rookie. They also lack a reliable point guard in a point guard driven league. They won more games than last season so that’s a step in the right direction.
So now the Knicks bring in Kurt Rambis to continue teaching this team the triangle. I heard reports that he is a playful guy and should do a better job of teaching the triangle than Fisher. Fisher was said to be more serious with his team and that’s hard to do when you are losing. Rambis isn’t a great coach by any means; he won 32 games total while coaching the Timberwolves for two full seasons. Most likely Rambis is there to be a bridge for the next coach. Phil Jackson loves the triangle and will probably find someone to coach the triangle to these Knicks. So he will be looking at Luke Walton and Brian Shaw, two guys who played and coach under Jackson and who should know the triangle.
The best coach available is Tom Thibodeau. He doesn’t exclusively run the triangle offense and it seems like Phil wants to instill that system. It will be interesting to see if Thibodeau would be willing to implement more triangle sets. He had problems with the Bulls management before he got fired and it wouldn’t be good to clash with management again. This is Thibodeau’s dream job so anything is possible.
The Knicks don’t have their first round pick this season so they can’t tank. At this point Rambis is there to do a better job of teaching the triangle. They don’t have many assets to make a big move at the trade deadline and they would be foolish if they traded any other draft picks. This season is already better than last season and they have a fun young player in Porzingis. He needs the right coaching to continue to grow. The Knicks have to find the right coach not just someone who will run the triangle.