By: David Woeltz ~Staff Writer~
Another day, another NBA coach fired. Second-year New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher is the most recent coach to get the axe in a season that has sent five coaches on a job search. Fisher’s Knicks were riding a fivegame losing streak that dropped them to an unimpressive 23-31 mark.
The Knicks were expected to miss the playoffs this season due to the lack of talent around Carmelo Anthony, but Fisher’s coaching abilities further exasperated problems. Fisher never figured out the best rotation for his team even with emerging rookie star Kristaps Porzingis posting an unexpected 13.8 PPG and 7.7 RPG.
Team president Phil Jackson’s failed experiment to bring in his former point guard to coach the triangle offense is as much to blame for the Knick’s failure as anything.
Jackson missed out on hiring Steve Kerr before he settled on Fisher, an outcome that looks even worse after Kerr led the Warriors to a championship last season.
Still, the Knicks are in prime position to hire a better head coach than some of the other teams who have a quick trigger.
Luke Walton has emerged as one of the top potential candidates for the storied franchise. Walton posted an unprecedented 39-4 record as coach of the Golden State Warriors before Steve Kerr returned from health problems. Walton was also a former Phil Jackson player, but he has insisted that he won’t consider any offers until after the Warriors season has ended.
The Knicks might also hone in on Tom Thibodeau who led the Chicago Bulls to a 255-139 record during five seasons. Sources close to Thibodeau have said he has a high interest in the job, according to ESPN.com writer Ian O’Connor. Thibodeau’s defensive- minded tendencies could clash with Jackson’s vision of running the triangle offense, however.
Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who is fresh off of a Finals appearance, could be another viable option. Of course, this is assuming Phil Jackson doesn’t step down from his role as the team’s president to coach, but similar to the Pat Riley rumors in 2011, it is highly unlikely.
The Knicks have an established star and one of the game’s most versatile rookies. The allure of Madison Square Garden and the New York market further establish the job opening as the most attractive in the NBA, even if the Knicks are far from competing for a title.