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Derek Fisher Reunited with Phil Jackson as Knicks Head Coach

by Photo of Alex Madrazo

Phil Jackson finally gets ‘his guy’ as Knicks sign Fisher to a 5-year, $25 million deal. Here’s why he fits.

Derek Fisher Reunited with Phil Jackson as Knicks Head Coach

In this article…

For the past few weeks, the New York Knicks and mainly Phil Jackson have been asked what are they going to do now that Steve Kerr passed up the Knicks head coaching job and abruptly signed with Golden State last month. As of yesterday, the New York Knicks came to an agreement to land former Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher to a five-year, $25 million dollar deal.      

After an illustrious 18-year career, the 39 year old said this week that after his Thunder got knocked out of the playoffs, "In the past decade or so, I've really felt that my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people. Coaching allows you to positively impact other's peoples lives."  He finishes his career as a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers (in 9 years along side Phil Jackson across two different stints). He bounced around the league playing for Golden State, Utah, Dallas and two stints in Oklahoma City where he mainly served as a solid backup playing less than 20 minutes of action over the last 3 seasons. 

Even though Jackson missed out on getting Steve Kerr, hiring Fisher as the head coach was one of the smartest moves he's made to date. Since Jackson began his tenure as president of basketball operations for the Knicks in March, he wanted to hire someone he had a very good relationship with and who can be molded into preaching the triangle offense and ball movement by selling the team-first concept. Jackson wants the Knicks culture in basketball organization, from top to bottom, to change on his terms without having any interference from James Dolan.

Fisher was officially announced as the Knicks head coach in a news conference at the teams training facility on Tuesday. "I am experienced," the 39 year-old Fisher said Tuesday. "Basketball is a game that I am experienced in playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping another group of people achieve the greatest gift in the world as a professional athlete, and that's being a champion."     

Derek Fisher has won an NBA record 161 playoff games out of the 256 games hes participated in over his career.  He isn't the first point guard to run a NBA team on the bench right after his playing days ended. Just look at Jason Kidd and what he did last season in taking the Brooklyn Nets to the second round of the NBA playoffs before ultimately falling to the Miami Heat. One of Fisher's biggest assets is knowing how to lead and understanding how to handle big stars. He knows what it takes to keep egos in check for the betterment of the team. This showed itself from 2006-2013 as president of the NBA Players Association.

I believe that moving forward, the Knicks will move in a positive direction. With the molding of Fisher and Jackson's imprint on this basketball team, not only will the Knicks become relevant in the atrocious Eastern Conference, but they will become an even more attractive landing spot for superstars regardless of whether Carmelo Anthony stays or goes. This is the first step in what seems to be a long uphill climb for the Knicks as they desperately try to find a way to give New Yorkers something to cheer about year in and year out.

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