With a roster in flux and Jackson's clearing players out, the Knicks went 17-65 in 2014-15. But they are 21-28 now under Jeff Hornacek, about the same winning percentage with a roster everyone assessed before the season as more NBA-ready than what Fisher had.
Jackson and Carmelo Anthony have been at odds, too."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. at."Jackson clearly disagreed, despite wanting those very same foundational things.
Fisher and Jackson both wanted to be the proven winners who showed New York how proven winners do things.
That's ego, for sure, but that's the way men who have a primal need to be significant in this world think.
So it has made it easier for me to focus on me."We were doing a lot of really good things with the Knicks. The good that was being done got overshadowed by opinion, actuallyinaccurate opinion about a personal matter.
Nobody really knows what happened, because there's been just noise about what happened."What ultimately took place with Fisher's job was Jackson's deeming after a year and a half that Fisher didn't have what it took to be the team president's protege or the right coach for the Knicks."To observe something from the place that Phil has sat and experienced, you can't compare to that," Fisher said.
"The prettiest girl, the shiniest car, the best-looking house. Fisher never felt that close to Jackson in New York.
Then once we open the door and walk inside the house, we realize the walls aren't painted, the foundation's cracked, the plumbing is leaking in the backyard and the pool is about to collapse."You don't see those things or you don't have a feel for the idea that you kind of have to inspect all of that before you decide to buy that house."Fisher's faith in Jackson drove the decision. Jackson has acknowledged privately that he gave Fisher too much space for fear of smothering him as he learned the coaching craft, no matter the hot topic of Jackson's pushing the triangle offense on Fisher.
By his own admission, Fisher thought the profession "was limiting in the parts of you that you have to access.""I don't know if it would've been as gratifying, as fulfilling, as challenging—or with as many sleepless nights—trying to figure all this stuff that you have to figure out in New York," Fisher said."You can't try and say someone else isn't doing it the way possibly one of the greatest who has ever been able to do it, did it when he did it.They don't teach ninth-grade algebra the same way they used to teach ninth-grade algebra."Dating Govan, mother to former Lakers teammate Barnes' twin sons, has also left a massive stigma on him in league circles.Certainly Jackson's faith in Fisher did, as Fisher had no coaching experience whatsoever. That's one of the reasons why we didn't quite complete our meshing and blending of talents and thoughts, because those two positions are not always aligned."On the Lakers team plane back in the day, Jackson and Kobe Bryant sat across the aisle from each other. In any case, Jackson's dreams that he and Fisher would develop unshakable trust and unfiltered communication—akin to what Jackson enjoyed with his longtime mentor, Tex Winter—did not come to pass."One of the challenges for all of us was we were in the basketball department under the umbrella of and who he was and who he is and what he was able to do as coach and leader," Fisher said. '"For all the structural defects in that house, Fisher nevertheless is adamant that something was cooking.Almost like a naive young couple's knowledge that above all they love each other, Fisher and Jackson just figured they'd make a marriage work, regardless of what real life was like."We both didn't know exactly what we were doing," Fisher said. "Then [when you're] asking me as a head coach in a sense not to create the same results, but take the same system or way of playing and try and teach these guys how to play it—and utilize it in similar ways as when he taught it—I think at times it was more challenging for our players to really understand, 'Who am I committing myself to? First off, there was the unicorn-ucopia of growth, featuring Kristaps Porzingis."I know what was going on," Fisher said. I As much failure as the Knicks have endured since their 1973 NBA title, the record book lists Fisher with the worst winning percentage of any New York coach who lasted more than one season (.294).