By Marc Rasbury
When the news broke on Monday that the New York Knicks fired head coach Derek Fisher most people were shocked. However, there were some that saw this coming. There are many theories floating out there for why this came to be. However, in my humble opinion, it all came down to offensive philosophies.
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There are some out there who felt that Fisher’s love triangle with ex-Knicks Matt Barnes and his ex-wife was one of the main reasons why Fisher was sent packing. That sticky situation raised eyebrows within the sports world as well the general populous. He broke one of the fundamental rules of manhood by crossing that line of dating one of your boy’s former girl friend or even wife. That is something that is more than frowned upon. Do you think that players whether they will admit it or not would be comfortable inviting Fisher over to their house to watch the Super Bowl? And how do you think this would play out with recruiting pending free agents? It’s an uncomfortable situation to say the least. But that is not the reason why he got axed. Remember, this is the same organization that backed Isaiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury in a sexual harassment suit.
Then there was the fact that the Knicks lost 9 of their last 10 games, five in a row. In the last three games, the Knicks fell behind close to 20-points before valiantly mounting a comeback in each contest to only lose in the closing minutes. They lost each game but they did not give up and showed some fight for the Young Ball Coach. So the team did not give up on Fisher. Also keep in mind that his two main players, Harlem’s Carmelo Anthony and Kristas Porzingis, were in and out of the lineup during that 1-9 stretch.
Jackson even tried to get the team’s assistants Jim Clemons and Kurt Rambis to get Fisher back to using the triangle.
What this dismissal to me was based on basketball philosophies. We all know that Knicks Team President Phil Jackson is in love with the triangle offense. However, Fisher over the pass few weeks was trying to steer away from this offense to Jackson’s dismay. Jackson even tried to get the team’s assistants Jim Clemons and Kurt Rambis to get Fisher back to using the triangle. I thought that assistant coaches followed the head coach lead not the other way around. Bucking Jackson’s beloved offense in addition to losing 9 out of the last 10, gave Jackson the ammunition to let Fisher go.
Jackson is hell bent on proving that his triangle offense still works… However, these Knicks as presently constituted have not grasped the concept of the offense.
Jackson is hell bent on proving that his triangle offense still works. Yes, it is effective when you have Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen or Shaquille O’Neill and Kobe Bryant along with experienced role players running it. However, these Knicks as presently constituted have not grasped the concept of the offense.
… Jeff Van Gundy, ex-Knick assistant coach Tom Thibodeau or Mark Jackson. … do not run the Triangle…
Jackson replaced Fisher with Rambis for the time being. He is not going to go after ex-Knick head coach Jeff Van Gundy, ex-Knick assistant coach Tom Thibodeau or Mark Jackson. They do not run the Triangle and they are as hard on their players as Fisher was. They are great coaches but they do not fit into Jackson’s philosophy. Besides I do not think that Knicks Owner James Dolan would let Jackson hire Van Gundy given how he left the organization.
Jackson will most likely go after Luke Walton or Brian Shaw. Both of these guys will follow the company line if hired. Jackson will ride or die with this offense. Anyone who takes this job has to understand and accept this.
If the Knicks would have won a few of those close games during this losing streak, perhaps Fisher would still have a job. Ad to the fact that he was involved in the Love Triangle, losing did not help his cause. However, going against your boss even when you are right, like when the Knicks were at .500, does not bold well. If you are going to go against your boss’s wishes, you better be success