It’s hard to imagine that something like this could have taken place just five years ago, but Steve Kerr nearly wound up as the New York Knicks coach instead of a three-time champion with the Golden State Warriors.
Knicks fans might imagine a future in which Carmelo Anthony didn’t fall apart and their team finally won a title, but that’s probably not would’ve ended up happening.
Kerr admitted as much on Friday when he reflected on David Fizdale becoming the third fired Knicks coach in the last three-plus years, following Derek Fisher and Jeff Hornacek.
“If I had gone to New York, that would’ve been me about three years ago,” Kerr told reporters. “I’m well aware of that. That’s just the way it goes, so I think I made the right choice.”
That doesn’t mean Kerr wouldn’t have lifted the Knicks above their .304 winning percentage since the 2014-15 season, but there’s only so much even a Hall of Fame coach can do. You can do a lot more coaching Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green than you can Andrea Bargnani, J.R. Smith and Arron Afflalo, as Kerr explained:
“I’m a big fan of David’s. I’ve gotten to know him pretty well over the years. He’s a hell of a coach. As we know in this business, it’s extremely fragile, and your job is dependent on a lot of things when you’re a coach in this league. Number one, probably the talent you’re able to coach. But just as importantly is the strength of the organization and the group around you. It takes a really strong organization to help coaches and help players get through difficult times. I’m very blessed to have that around me, and not every coach does. It’s a tough league.”
There’s a reason the Knicks have been through 10 head coaches already this century, and Kerr hits the nail on the head. It’s about talent, and the Knicks haven’t drafted well besides Kristaps Porzingis, who they traded for cap room they didn’t use. It’s also about organizational stability, which they seemingly have never had under owner James Dolan.
Fizdale certainly didn’t do a stellar job this season in leading the Knicks to a 4-18 record, but that’s about what they should have expected. Blaming Fizdale won’t solve all of the Knicks’ issues.
In an alternate universe, New York fired Steve Kerr after three disappointing seasons, wishing that they had made a different coaching hire. Maybe former NBA sharpshooter Derek Fisher?
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