Derek Fisher has seen his fair share of things during a long and illustrious career in the NBA. He has won championships, hit clutch shots, represented the NBA players themselves and has added a veteran presence and leadership to young and talented teams. While he has stated this will indeed be his last season playing basketball, will he ever be far away from the game?
Often considered by many as a terrific coaching candidate, Fisher’s name is coming up frequently as a number of NBA teams are looking to replace their head coach or fill vacancies on coaching benches. While the Oklahoma City Thunder are still in the thick of the action in the NBA playoffs, speculation is rife that the New York Knicks might be interested in speaking with Fisher before hiring their new coach.
Recently, Steve Kerr shunned the New York Knicks in favor of the head coaching role with the Golden State Warriors, so the vacancy is still unfilled. It’s not just the Knicks who are in search of a new coach, but they are most closely linked with Fisher from all reports.
Without any formal coaching experience, is Derek Fisher – who is still playing the game – ready to take control of any NBA team as the #1 man on the bench? There is no denying that Fisher is a very astute gentleman who garners respect from his peers and has a high basketball IQ, but whether that translates to success from the sidelines is anyone’s guess. The Oklahoma City Thunder have their own coaching issues, as many critics lay the blame for any poor performances right on the offensive strategy of Scott Brooks.
If Fisher was to audition for a coaching role, wouldn’t he be best at least serving an apprenticeship? Since coming to the Thunder, he has been an experienced, veteran leader, but there has been little talk or display of any spill over into the coaching side of things.
Everyone is looking for the next Jeff Hornacek or Jason Kidd. A young (in coaching terms) former player with a great basketball brain who has the respect of younger generations due to their on court resume. Does Derek Fisher fit that mold? Would he be any good as a head coach or even be interested in the New York job? It would be a baptism of fire for Fisher – one of the league’s biggest market’s and a team in turmoil.
With the rumors running rampant about Fisher as a head coach, do we see him try and force some tactical input during the Western Conference Finals? Not just in order to try and get the Thunder back to the NBA Finals and give himself a chance at a sixth ring, but to also show he can perform with a whiteboard in hand?
Let’s hope the franchises that want to speak with Fisher about a coaching role, leave him alone for the post-season to allow him to focus on the task at hand. The Thunder could use all the help they can get against a very strong San Antonio Spurs outfit. If OKC falter again, even with the Serge Ibaka injury – there might be another head coaching gig up for grabs.