Derek Fisher is in the cue to be next Knicks coach. It’s hard to know where he stands or whether he has interest, but it would make for a good story in New York. It’s the same city where Jason Kidd made his jump from the ranks of player to coach last season. And if Fisher does want to be an NBA coach, he would be best served to follow in Jason Kidd’s footsteps.
Kidd and Fisher were both glorified assistant coaches in their final year. They participated on the court and had moments when they were excellent contributors, but Fisher’s 5.2 points per game weren’t what earned him his 1.4 million dollar contract. It was his off-the-court contribution. It was his ability to coach and mentor the Thunder’s young talent in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Sure, there are differences in their story. The Nets franchise promoted Kidd from player to coach and Fisher would jump from the Thunder to the Knicks. Fisher played for Phil Jackson with the Lakers, however, and so that connection spanned past his departure from L.A.
But if Fisher wants to have an immediate impact, he will be best served to copy much of what Jason Kidd did. The transition from player to coach is not simple — especially considering how old the Nets roster was — and though the Nets struggled at first, Jason Kidd set a solid example. Fisher should drop J-Kidd a line and pick his brain on how to deal with the new status and attention. He’d even benefit from asking him about how to handle the New York city media. The Knicks are going to be very difficult team to coach, and so if Fisher takes the job, he’s going to need all the help he can get.