If there were any doubts about Derek Fisher becoming the new head coach of the New York Knicks, they were put to rest during the five-time NBA champion’s impressive introductory press conference. Fisher has already proven that he is the right man for the job just by the way he conducted himself in front of the media. More importantly, he showed that he has what it takes to bring more championships to New York.
By now, we are all aware why Knicks president Phil Jackson chose Fisher. Jackson wanted someone to run the show who he has worked with before and who understands the triangle offense. Essentially, he wanted someone who could be an extension of him on the court. That does not mean that Fisher will be Jackson’s puppet. It just means that Fisher will have the same mentality as Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach and two as a player.
The biggest knock appears to be that Fisher will get paid $5 million per season over five years. That kind of money is reserved for experienced coaches who have won in the league. Fisher is the complete opposite, as he has never coached at any level. However, the 39-year-old was quick to point out that just because he does not have coaching experience does not mean that he does not have valuable basketball experience.
“I am experienced,” Fisher said during his introductory press conference. “Basketball is a game that I’m experienced playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping other people achieve the greatest gift in the world that a professional athlete can have, which is being a champion.
“That I do have experience in.”
Fisher has proven time and again that he has what it takes to be a general on the court. He has commanded the attention of some of the best players in the league, including Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. When he speaks, people listen. In fact, coaches typically do not have a problem taking advice from Fisher, which is a direct result of his confidence that is boosted from his experience. He understands the game and knows what it takes to reach the NBA Finals and beyond.
It will be interesting to see if Fisher’s positive demeanor will transition to wins for the Knicks next season. The good news is there is an excitement in New York that the basketball town has not enjoyed in quite some time, which means the organization has already taken a big step in the right direction.