Derek Fisher, several-time NBA Champion as a player, is the coach of the New York Knickerbockers. For now. I put down the ‘conditional’ because I cannot see him lasting the entire 2015-16 season in that capacity. Why do I say that? Because the first thing you look for in a head coach is PERSONALITY and Derek Fisher has no personality whatsoever. What’s that? You say he was a winner and a leader on the floor and a champion as a player? Wonderful. But that doesn’t matter when they put the reins in your hand. That’s when strength of personality come in.
I’ve seen Derek Fisher interviewed. Not only is he the most boring coach on the planet but he also does not know what to say. I take that back. He does know what to say: some carefully rehearsed mantra that he repeats again and again. Let’s compare Derek Fisher with another little left-handed former NBA point guard: Avery Johnson. Understand, I am no big fan of Avery Johnson but I respect one great quality he possesses: personality. Avery Johnson may go over the line every so often but he has ‘HEAD COACH’ written all over him.
People tell me Derek Fisher is not even a good conversationalist, that he will not initiate a conversation, though he may join in the process after it starts. I’m sorry, but there is no way Knicks’ President Phil Jackson cannot see this. Jackson himself won 11 NBA titles as a coach and he did that with his powerful personality. Yes, you may say he has the biggest ego in sports, so it stands to reason he’ll have a strong personality. Hey, a big ego is a huge help to a coach! Here’s the deal: If the coach believes in his methods, his players will buy in. It’s as simple as that.
Again, Jackson is evidence of that. He got his super stars to buy into his Triangle Offense: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen at Chicago; Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant at Los Angeles. That was a monumental feat. Derek Fisher may have been hamstrung by Phil wanting him to run a system not suited for the Knicks’ personnel but the real problem with the Knicks was that they didn’t believe. They say a team reflects the personality of its coach. That said, the Knicks were 17-65 this year, the worst team in the NBA. I rest my case.