One day after the New York Knicks fired head coach Derek Fisher, the 41-year-old released a statement Tuesday on Twitter thanking the organization for providing him the opportunity to lead one of the NBA's most prestigious franchises:
Fisher's statement came hours after Knicks president Phil Jackson provided some clarity regarding the decision to fire Fisher and replace him with interim head coach Kurt Rambis:
Phil Jackson @PhilJackson11
I am sad about D-Fish. However, I'm not discouraged. Here is some things pundits should know before assuming 'next'. https://t.co/cFnA8TQAhx2016-2-9 18:03:13
Although the Knicks had lost nine of their last 10 games at the time of Fisher's dismissal, Jackson's decision to jettison the second-year coach came as a surprise.
Not only was the five-time NBA champion in the second year of a five-year, $25 million deal, but Jackson and the front office had just infused the roster with talent that required time to establish chemistry in the midst of a rebuild.
However, Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding shed some light on one of the many reasons that contributed to Fisher's rapid demise, writing, "Fisher, 41, didn't practice this unproven group long or hard enough, didn't teach or stress enough defense and didn't know how to inspire players after they grew desensitized to his speechmaking skills."
The Knicks will now attempt to stem the tide under Rambis as Jackson ponders possible replacement options for the full-time gig.
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Monday, Jackson told reporters, "The system of basketball is what’s important,” when discussing what he's looking for in a next coach, per ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk. He also mentioned the aesthetic that seemed to envelop the team's triangle offense of late was not encouraging.
"We had a lot of what I consider standing around, one-on-one kind of situational stuff, in the game, where I like to see ball movement, player movement that brings out the best in the team," Jackson said, per Youngmisuk. "I think that could be one of the standards we’d like to see happen."
There's no denying the Knicks have talent, but maximizing it will be a tall task as the team seeks to adjust on the fly midway through the season. Entering Tuesday night, the Knicks were 4.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Detroit Pistons for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
That number may hardly seem insurmountable, but the Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards are all perched slightly above the Knicks in the standings and comprise just part of a growing group competing for coveted postseason positions.