If the rumors are true, and at this point we have no reason to believe they are not, Derek Fisher will be plucked off the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder and placed front and center of the New York Knicks.
Not many people were calling for Derek Fisher to be a coach before Phil Jackson stated he had an interest in Fisher coaching (and then faced a $25,000 tampering fine). Jackson created the buzz and then got punished for it and all the while losing his first choice in Steve Kerr.
The dysfunction of the Knicks has a star in Carmelo Anthony that might walk in free agency, a payroll filled with talent that is un-earning, no draft picks in a stacked draft class, a new executive in Jackson and now a new head coach whose sweat has barely dried off his last jersey.
As these are a series of unfortunate circumstances to roll into the next season and the opening of the 2015 Free Agency period where You-Know-Who could walk away, bold choices by the notoriously outside the box Jackson are not a surprise. But the choices he’s made so far are anything but out of the ordinary. Yes, Derek Fisher is a name, but he’s not a Name. And his direct ascent was not even groundbreaking because it happened the year before when Jason Kidd became the coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
Is this Phil Jackson the first six-titles Jackson that helped spin the world on its head with Michael Jordan? Or is this the Jackson that brought over Gary Payton and Karl Malone into a sad simulacrum of his second-great teams with the Bulls?
If things come together for the Knicks, Fisher has a way of washing away all this trepidation, but it will be over James Dolan’s checkbook with a guitar on the cover (probably). Kidd got over his rough patch by jettisoning one of his top assistants, but he also has a promising couple of young players and an owner willing to turn his team into The Team That Luxury Tax Forgot. James Dolan and the current Knicks roster is neither of those.
In the positive side of the spectrum Phil has a loyal solider in Derek Fisher, who was his point guard for ten years of his Lakers teams and he knows how to implement the triangle-offense. But we’ve also had the triangle offense for almost twenty years. Coaches have seen it, used it, and schemed against it. Is it enough to plug in a loyal friend and play the greatest hits if your lead guy isn’t on the stage?