According to the Knicks' official Twitter account, Fisher is now the 26th head coach in the organization's history:
Fisher's hiring ushers in a new era for the Knicks, but there is a certain aura of familiarity as well. Fisher spent nine years under Phil Jackson as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he is now the Knicks president's handpicked choice to lead his team.
As seen in this photo courtesy of WNBC-TV's Bruce Beck, Fisher and Jackson were reunited once again at the press conference:
Magic Johnson praised Fisher's hiring and talked about what it means for the Knicks:
New York Knicks fans around the world should be excited about Derek Fisher being named head coach! The man knows how to win!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 10, 2014
The event had a celebratory feel despite the Knicks poor showing during the 2013-14 season, as Jackson was jovial regarding Fisher's new role, per Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
Phil Jackson says the hiring of Derek Fisher as coach is a "happy occasion." #Knicks— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 10, 2014
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck provided his thoughts on the press conference:
Both men had plenty to say throughout Tuesday's introductory press conference, but here are some of the biggest takeaways from Fisher's first day on the job as Knicks head coach.
Fisher's Goals Come Into Focus
The Knicks appear to be a long way away from title contention on the surface, but Fisher made it abundantly clear Tuesday that his ultimate goal is to win championships in New York. Fisher has a winning track record as a player with five championships to his credit and he is hopeful that will help him in the coaching ranks.
According to the Knicks' Twitter account, Fisher plans to use his championship experience to his advantage in New York:
"I look forward to sharing my experience with my players, and helping to reestablish a championship culture." -Coach @derekfisher— NBA New York Knicks (@nyknicks) June 10, 2014
Few players in the history of basketball have had as much postseason success as Fisher. The playoffs haven't been kind to the Knicks over the past several years, however, as Fisher himself has more than quadrupled New York's playoff win total since the 1996-97 campaign, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Number of Playoff wins since 1996-97 season: Derek Fisher 161 Knicks 40— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 10, 2014
There seems to be a belief that Jackson chose Fisher as more of a figurehead than anything. During the press conference, Jackson spoke about himself and Fisher potentially forming a winning combination just as they did for so many years in Los Angeles.
"Today marks the next step of this journey for the New York Knicks franchise as we name Derek to lead the team as its head coach." Jackson told reporters. "Our relationship began 15 years ago, and over time, it has come clear to me that he and I can form a great partnership once again."
Fisher made it clear, however, that he won't rest on his laurels simply because of his relationship with Jackson, per NBA on ESPN:
"This is not for Phil and I to just hang out again as friends. We want to add more banners to this ceiling here." - Derek Fisher.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 10, 2014
Fisher and the Knicks obviously have an uphill climb in terms of going from a non-playoff team to a title contender. Given Fisher's confidence, though, it's difficult to doubt that he truly thinks he can turn the team around.
Is Derek Fisher the right hire for the Knicks?
Will Experience Be an Issue?
Having just completed his NBA playing career a couple weeks ago as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Fisher has no head coaching experience on his resume. That didn't stop Jackson and the Knicks from hiring him, just as it didn't stop the Brooklyn Nets from hiring Jason Kidd last offseason.
Neither man appears concerned about Fisher's lack of coaching experience, though.
According to Fox Sports Live, Jackson believes that Fisher has essentially been preparing himself for this role over the past few years:
'Derek is in the learning process but we feel his last few years have been in an assistant coach & player role' Phil Jackson on Derek Fisher— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) June 10, 2014
Jackson also made a point of mentioning the fact that Fisher has played under some of the greatest coaches in NBA history, per Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:
Phil Jackson lists Don Nelson, Jerry Sloan and Scott Brooks among the 'great' coaches Derek Fisher has played for. Doesn't mention himself.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 10, 2014
From Fisher's perspective, experience is relative. Fisher spent 18 years in the NBA as a player, so he has essentially seen and done it all within the game of basketball.
Because of that, Fisher feels as though he is well prepared for the challenge ahead of him, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Derek FIsher: "There will be talk about my inexperience as a head coach ... But I am experienced. Basketball is a game I'm experienced in."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 10, 2014
Fisher will continue to face questions about his experience, especially if the Knicks get off to a slow start next season. In a high-profile market like New York, unexpected struggles are simply not tolerated, as Kidd found out the hard way early in the 2013-14 season.
Fisher has said all the right things so far, though, and it is difficult to argue with the notion that he knows the game of basketball and how to excel within it.
Fisher's Views on Carmelo Anthony
Now that the Knicks' new head coach is in place, the biggest question mark surrounding the organization relates to the status of superstar player Carmelo Anthony. Melo has been the heart and soul of the Knicks for the past several seasons, but he's planning on opting out of his current contract, per Newsday's Al Iannazzone, and could sign elsewhere this offseason.
Not surprisingly, Fisher and Jackson were peppered with questions regarding Anthony since his status will have a lot to do with the Knicks' success or lack thereof in the immediate future.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Fisher didn't hide the fact that his preference is for Melo to return to New York next season:
Derek Fisher: "We want Carmelo to be here…obviously he has a choice…we'll do everything we can to keep him."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 10, 2014
Having a superstar who can take over games would obviously be extremely helpful for Fisher in his transition to a coaching role. Jackson knows that better than anyone as he was buoyed by Michael Jordan while with the Chicago Bulls and the combination of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal with the Lakers.
When asked how he and Fisher will go about convincing Carmelo to stay with the Knicks, Jackson said that Fisher has a championship history that will help him make his case, per SportsCenter:
"I will have Derek (Fisher) wear all 5 of his rings the first time he comes in to talk to Carmelo." - Phil Jackson #LiveOnSC— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 10, 2014
Back in May, Jackson told reporters that he's asked Melo to not opt out of his contract, saying, "I told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it's like for a year, and go out the next year." Anthony reportedly said that he'd think about it, Jackson said.
Fisher will have to carry on with his job and do the best he can with or without Anthony, but he has plenty of incentive to get Carmelo back in the fold.
It is difficult to envision a much better duo than Jackson and Fisher in terms of trying to show a player what it takes to be a champion, but the decision ultimately rests with Anthony.
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