Sports fans are, by and large, innately reactionary when it comes to assessing coaches and players. Emotions run high and are often uncontained. So it was unsurprising, in fact, it was expected, when a chorus of Knicks fans concluded that Derek Fisher did not possess the necessities to be a capable coach in the NBA barely four months into his first season on the bench.
These overly dramatic followers of the Knicks did not allow common sense to stand in the way of illogical thought. All that mattered was the team was 10-43 at the All-Star break and Fisher, in their view, was in over his head. The assessment was made despite Fisher managing a rotation replete with NBA Developmental League caliber players.
After the Knicks won their final game of the month of February, a five-point victory over the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden, only their second over a 10-game stretch, Fisher presented an optimistic outlook.
“Under the circumstances, it’s impressive that a group of guys still decided that tonight was very important to them as team,” he said. “And that they were going to play with some pride and protect their home court and reward our fans that are still coming to support us and stick with us through this. They put out an honest effort. That’s great to see.”
More than a month later, his words still rang true. The Knicks’ 101-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers this past Sunday at MSG proved the team has not quit on their coach. Although Fisher’s crew was 15-62, the worst record in the league, when they hosted the Indiana Pacers last night (Wednesday), they were still playing with purpose and pride.
With just four games remaining for the Knicks, that is the primary measure by which Fisher’s abilities should be evaluated this season.