If it worked for Kidd, it can work for Fisher
JUN 09, 2014 9:29p ET
Jason Kidd went from the court to being a coach.
No break. No downtime or an apprenticeship. And not just any job, Kidd took over the Brooklyn Nets, a team ripe with personality, ego and excitement. Kidd didn't take over an NBA D-League team, he started at the top.
If Kidd can do it, makes sense to think Derek Fisher can, too.
Fisher and the New York Knicks have reportedly got an agreement in place for Fisher to become the next coach of the Knicks, move from an Oklahoma City bench to Broadway and re-test the idea an old player can work as a young coach.
First, it was Mark Jackson. But Jackson spent a few years away from the game as a player, going the broadcast route before heading into coaching for the Warriors. It worked. Golden State, along with Seth Curry, became relevant.
Then it was Kidd. Now, it's Steve Kerr with the Warriors and Fisher, 39, with the Knicks.
And you wanna know why it will work? Same reason it did with Nets and the Warriors under Jackson.
Personality. Simple as that.
Sure, the NBA is filled with guys in suits who can draw up a play, crunch numbers and find the flaws and finesse in analytics that seem to be the new trend, but what the hiring of Kidd, and now Fisher, shows that an arm around the shoulder, a conversation or maybe something even less tangible, is valued.
Fisher is reportedly getting $25 million over five years not because he's a master tactician, who knows when to call a timeout or when to go to the pick-and-roll. He was hired because he can relate to players. Simple as that.
Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks played Fisher - sometimes too often and too many minutes - because he trusted him, not because he was some sort of ageless wonder. Phil Jackson, president of the Knicks, hired Fisher, not because he's some sort of master of the Triangle offense, but because he trusts him.
Trusts him to keep the moody and malcontent Carmelo Anthony happy enough to want to come back and re-sign with the Knicks. Anthony is a free agent after next season and needs attention, coddling and a shoulder to lean on. Who better than Fisher, a guy Kevin Durant spoke glowingly about during his MVP speech and a guy Brooks treated like you wish your parents treated you.
The Knicks have Amare Stoudemire (free agent after next season) and Tyson Chandler (free agent after next season). They have Metta World Peace (free agent after next season) and are dripping with so much drama, the last thing they need is a wild card on the bench calling plays.
With Fisher, Jackson not only can assert himself back into the coaching game, he gets an ode to consistency, a Blue Plate Special. Jackson knows what he wants. With so many fluid pieces and so much uncertainty going forward, it's not the time to order off the menu and challenge a young chef. You get Fisher and you get zero surprises.
You also get the chance for the Knicks to become relevant, too. Sure, people pay attention to New York basketball, but something happened in the last season. Remember, two years ago, the Knicks won 50 games? This season, they couldn't even make the playoffs in the sorry, sorry Eastern Conference. Fisher might not be able to get the Knicks back to a 50-win season, but he also won't be looking over his shoulder like Mike Woodson did all season.
That alone will make the Knicks better. A duo of Jackson and Fisher will keep attention on the Knicks and keep the New York players focused.
An arm around the shoulder from a guy like Fisher will do that.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK