It’s been over a month since Mike D’Antoni resigned as the Lakers head coach, and the team is still without a new one. Its mind-boggling the team still doesn’t have a new head coach in place yet, but it’s probably because they are being extremely cautious with the next hire. After hiring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, it’s safe to say the Lakers better get the next one right! With the NBA Finals well under way, it would seem that the Lakers would steal the headlines with the announcement of a new head coach, but they are being very conservative of their decision. As the Lakers take their time searching for a new head coach, one candidate has already been scratched out, and that’s former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher.
Fisher has been away from the Lakers organization for last 3 years, but the opportunity to be the head coach would have been very enticing for the veteran point guard, who helped the franchise win 5 championships. He was a fan favorite and always seemed to come through at key moments, but coaching the Lakers is certainly not in the cards from a management point of view.
He has great leadership qualities, but is also inexperienced from a head coaching setting. Players used to take at least a year off and come back as coaches in order to gain a different perspective and respect toward the game, but those days are apparently over. Hiring a coach a year prior to playing seems like the newest NBA trend. Jason Kidd changed the whole dynamic last summer, when he retired from the New York Knicks, and then became the Brooklyn Nets coach a few weeks later. Fisher now finds himself in the same situation as Kidd was in a year ago. The question now is does Fisher have potential as a head coach? Yes, he does, but coaching the Lakers at this time is just not the right fit for either party.
He would have provided Lakers fans with a sense of hope and championship aspirations, but could have also been a really bad coach, who knows? Fisher is an unproven commodity at this point, and would have run the risk of leading the Lakers right back into the draft lottery or to the playoffs.
It just would have been a lot to ask from a rookie head coach with no prior experience. Yes, Fisher has numerous ties to the organization and is really close to Kobe Bryant, but coaching Kobe and the rest of the Lakers back into contention just seems a bit too much to ask for at this point for someone with no prior coaching experience. The reality of this whole situation is that the Lakers and Derek Fisher are not meant to team up at this point. Fisher himself isn’t even sure if he wants to continue playing or become a head coach, but a lot will come to fruition in the coming weeks. Derek Fisher will have to make a decision about his future sooner rather than later.
Indeed, Fisher has all the makings of a head coach from his personality and experience as a player and being the former president of the players union, but it seems as if he’s kind of being pressured into becoming one. Two of the NBA’s biggest franchises, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers came calling and have shown interest in Fisher, but the Knicks seem to now be the front-runner now that the Lakers have withdrawn themselves from the Fisher sweepstakes. Really, the Lakers are looking for an experienced head coach instead of taking the risk on a rookie, but the Knicks don’t seem to mind that Derek Fisher has never been play caller in a huddle.
Phil Jackson is now the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks has taken a keen interest in Fisher. Jackson want’s Fisher to coach the Knicks, it’ no secret at this point. Jackson envisions Fisher installing the triangle offense into the Knicks roster even if it means rebuilding. One thing is certain; Jackson will have patience for Fisher, where the Lakers don’t have the patience for a rookie head coach no matter how deep the ties run. They want to win now! The Knicks may very well head into a fire sale, clearing the way for Jackson to acquire the right kind of players and coach to mold in his vision. The Lakers don’t have a vision at this point, they’re just trying to figure out what coach and roster will give them the best chance to win now with Kobe Bryant, who’s on a two-year time limit as of now. Where the Knicks are contemplating a total rebuild.
Coaching an older Kobe Bryant at the tail end of his career wouldn’t be the ideal situation for Derek Fisher at this point. Despite his friendship with Kobe, coaching Kobe and earning his respect alone as a head coach would have been a daunting task for him. Fisher is now the leading candidate for the New York Knicks coaching job, and in all honesty, he should take it if it’s offered. He will have his share of ups and downs, but will gain the much-needed experience that is needed as a head coach. He’s obviously not afraid of the spotlight or attention, and that could serve him well in a big market like New York. The truth is, Derek Fisher needs experience, and the Lakers are in no position to take on that challenge right now.
Fisher coaching the Lakers may not be a reality now, but who knows what the future holds when the Lakers may really need his expertise as a potential head coach.