February 8 marks the one-year anniversary of former Los Angeles Lakers great Derek Fisher being fired from his head coaching job with the New York Knicks by his former coach, Phil Jackson.
Jackson hired Fisher in 2014, a hiring that raised many eyebrows as the former point guard went straight from the court to the bench, something that doesn’t happen too often in the NBA.
Fisher went 17-65 as his first year as a head coach in the 2014-15 NBA season. The Knicks improved tremendously in his second year though, as after drafting Kristaps Porzingis, Fisher led them to a 22-22 start. They lost nine of their next 10 to fall to 23-31 though, costing Fisher his job.
The five-time NBA champion is now back with the Lakers as he serves as an analyst on Spectrum SportsNet. He recently reflected on his time with the Knicks in an interview with Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, and he believes that the team he coached last year was further along than the current Knicks team, who sits at 21-28 under head coach Jeff Hornacek despite having more talent than Fisher had on last years team:
“We were able to take a team that wasn’t as talented as the team they have now, and we were much better and much further along than this group is that they have now,” Fisher said. “Because the foundation was being laid.
“That’s different than just trying to coach basketball—and it takes longer. That’s the part that you can’t measure in wins and losses either. That’s what we were doing the best at.”
Fisher added that he is not sure why Jackson did not give him an opportunity to build a championship-type culture in New York, firing him in less than two seasons:
“It was strange to me that it was cut short prior to really seeing it all the way through.”
While Fisher did not say if he plans to return to coaching or not in the future, the 42-year-old should be around the game for many years to come, whether it be as a coach, working in a front office, or remaining in his current role as a TV analyst.