New York Artists React to Derek Fisher Hire
Gradelo Staff
5 years ago


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New York Artists React to Derek Fisher Hire

By Brian Kayser


Phil Jackson’s first major move as president of the New York Knicks was a swing and a miss. Firing Mike Woodson – expected. Getting turned down by a guy who had never been a head coach before – huge whiff. Steve Kerr was Phil’s guy. He knew the triangle offense, has the calm demeanor that Phil looks for, and has five NBA championships, three of them with the Zenmaster. But Golden State was able to offer Steve Kerr a more attractive package, from being closer to Kerr’s family, having more pieces in place for a deep playoff run, and not having the New York media ready and available to scrutinize every decision.

That meant Phil Jackson had to go to Plan B, something New York fans aren’t used to hearing. Going through his contacts, Phil found another scrappy point guard he’d coached with the quiet leadership skills. Only problem? Dude was still playing. That meant he might not even be interested, which would be the second candidate to turn down the job, which would have been catastrophic. What other former player could Jackson have called on? Jack Haley? I’m guessing no one wants to see the excitable towel-waver patrolling the sidelines at Madison Square Garden.

Lucky for Phil Jackson, he and the Knicks were able to save face as Derek Fisher, after his Thunder were eliminated by the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, retired and immediately became the Knicks’ head coach.

The move, however, has not been without some speculation. A little head-scratching is normal for any move made in New York, as there’s always one writer who will second-guess anything. But this time, there should have been some second-guessing. Derek Fisher, while showing leadership traits wherever he was – whether winning championships with Kobe’s Lakers or leading young Jazz and Thunder teams – has zero coaching experience. There were some quality coaches on the market with actual experience who could probably handle everything that came with coaching the Knicks, as well as a roster in serious need of rebuilding with their main attraction wanting to test the market.

Derek Fisher appears to have a lot of upside, but is he ready to be a head coach? In the NBA? For the New York Knicks? We don’t have the answers, but we talked to a handful of New York-bred hip-hop artists who, like any good New Yorker, have an opinion about the Knicks’ new hire.


I think the hiring of Derek Fisher as the Knicks coach and Phil Jackson upstairs is an interesting experiment. It’s a chance to see Phil still coach but from a different seat, and if the triangle offense can be easily implemented by Derek Fisher as productively as Phil did it. Sometimes it’s not the system, it’s the voice in the locker room that holds weight.


I like, not love, the decision to hire Derek Fisher as head coach for the Knicks. It helps Phil Jackson apply his triangle offense to the team without Phil having to be a coach. Fisher is familiar with the triangle and is a good leader. Fisher was head of the Union during the lockout. And players are already used to his leadership. Good fit. Have to see how he does as a first time coach.

Jean Grae:

I think it is a ruse! I think it is blasphemy and straight up skullduggery! This is an outrage! Everyone knows that Derek Fisher is far from being the man for this job! I say, we go down to the courthouses and protest this most glaring wound inflicted on our community!

Yeah, I have no idea who Derek Fisher is and I don’t watch a lot of sports.

(classic Jean Grae at that)

Pharoahe Monch:

I believe if the goal is to win a championship then you need great players to coach. I don’t care one way about the coaching hire. Philosophically, the personality of a team starts from the top and works its way down. So Phil Jackson is still the key.

Maffew Ragazino:

In my personal opinion, I believe Fisher will be a good coach. Fisher has a great relationship and history (of WINNING) with Phil Jackson. God willing, they will be able to create a new atmosphere for the ball club so that they can bring a victory to my hometown. I’ve got the uttermost faith in them. And although I’m not the biggest Knicks fan in the world, I’d rather a championship parade be in NYC than anywhere else.


I think it’s an excellent move for the Knicks. The success of other point guards turned coaches along with Fisher’s winning history and basketball IQ make it a no brainer. Best staff decision they’ve made in a long time.

AG Da Coroner:

While he wasn’t my first or second choice (Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson), he wasn’t a bad choice. Although he has no formal coaching experience, point guards make the best coaches because of their need to somewhat be a coach/general on the floor during their playing years. They are called upon to be leaders and can get the job done. Knowing Phil’s triangle offense is also a plus. Wouldn’t be surprised to see more former Laker/Bull players/staff come over.

Tywan (f/k/a Cashmere):

I say it’s a great thing and I am a diehard Knicks fan. Derek Fisher is a stand up businessman, coach and player and has played with Phil Jackson. He’s also won with him as well. Some say he doesn’t have coaching experience. I don’t see that as a huge difference due to many coaches being ex-players who became great coaches, like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, to name two. I think he will be a great fit due to his time in the NBA as a player and mentor. Congrats, Derek Fisher.

Wara From the NBHD:

Because of his quick transition from being a player, it may be too sudden for him to take on the role of coach, and that never really works out from what I’ve seen (hint: Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets). How the hell the Nets even made it to the playoffs this year, who knows, maybe it was those two old guys from the Celtics. But the upside of Derek coaching is that he does have the knowledge of the game that’s needed to help the Knicks, except at this point they need way more than a rookie coach. Phil Jackson literally might be the only hope for us getting anywhere in the near future. It looks like ‘Melo doesn’t plan on sticking around to see his career go down the drain, so that means they gotta think fast and most definitely get rid of every single player on that mothafucker besides J.R. Smith, and do whatever they have to to acquire Kevin Love this off-season. With that being said, Derek is known for going hard and they need some fire on the squad so it just might have been a smart move, we’ll see.

He definitely left everything on the court every night, so if the Knicks can bring in a solid PG with potential, I think he can turn that individual into a star PG. I’m not really sold on the PG’s we have on the roster right now though, they suck ass.

El Gant:

I think the Knicks should try anything at this point as long as it doesn’t involve hiring Isaiah Thomas. Fisher shows strong leadership skills and someone fresh off the court could be a great motivator, and someone the team can really identify with. It seems to be working for Brooklyn!

Dutch New York:

I feel it’s a great move. Phil Jackson constantly states he can no longer grind as a coach, so what better move to make than hiring a player who has won multiple championships an apprentice coach! This is a person who has been tried and tested in the league and played along some of the best. If Phil can channel his zen through D Fish and he can install that knowledge to the Knicks system, it should mean a winning system across the board! When have D Fish or Phil Jackson ever been classified as losers? Never!


I think Derek Fisher is a good fit for the Knicks. With the game constantly evolving and changing from the traditional style of play, it’s definitely good to get a young coach who played in the league not too long ago. I remember when the Lakers were the top team in the league, it was definitely Kobe’s team, but Fisher was always a solid player who hit clutch shots and played to win. Hopefully he brings that same mentality and attitude to New York.


My answer is quite simple. I trust Phil Jackson. Phil mentored Derek for many years. Both Phil and Derek have a proven track record of winning rings. Phil said that he watched Derek step up into a leadership role when he was a player – in essence, coaching his teammates. Being newly retired from the game is probably an advantage too. I think he could be a breath of fresh air the NY Knicks desperately need.

Kyle Rapps:

I def ride with Fish as coach. He has rings for days, connection with Phil, and the good teamwork mentality. A good look across the board.

Archie Bang:

This is a conversation me and a few friends have been having since the news was announced. Me being a lifelong Knicks fan, I knew it was the calm before the storm once Phil Jackson came over. And realistically speaking, no disrespect to Derek Fisher, but I feel the Knicks franchise could put a monkey in a suit courtside and as long as that monkey can read Phil Jackson’s plays, it’s gonna work. Phil Jackson is calling the shots and Derek Fisher is his front man. He’s won numerous championships, has rings and is good motivation for a team that constantly comes up short. I think it’s a great start, especially with the addition of Lamar Odom. We need a few more key players to add to the roster but over all I think Derek Fisher is a good look. Sky’s the limit as to what he can bring to the table as a coach.

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