New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher has insisted that the franchise will be able to turn things around quickly as they look ahead to a vital summer to rebuild the roster.
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The Knicks have endured a miserable season this year as they sit bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 15-63 record, with a combination of injuries and trades conspiring against Fisher.
Initially, the plan had been for the team to be competitive this year, but after a disappointing start to the campaign, team president Phil Jackson opted to get the rebuilding process underway and traded JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While Samuel Dalembert was waived and Amar’e Stoudemire reached a contract buyout agreement, Carmelo Anthony was ruled out for the rest of the season shortly after the All-Star break with a troublesome knee injury.
As a result, this year has certainly been one to forget for the Knicks as an organisation, but they remain positive and confident in their ability to produce a drastic turnaround next season.
“I guess that’s possible, but we are not here trying to squeeze in, we are not here trying to go from 15 to 36,” said Fisher, in response to a suggestion that the Knicks could enjoy a turnaround similar to that of the Milwaukee Bucks this year, according to ESPN.
“That’s just not who we are. So it can turn around quickly. It will turn around quickly.
“But we don’t really have to put a number on it. We are 6-21 in games [decided] by six points or less this year. So we lost 21 games on two possessions. So we don’t have go from 15 to 36 next year. We can go from 15 to 63 if we really want to. But that is up to us.”
The Bucks finished with the worst record in the league a season ago but are now on the verge of returning to the playoffs. Given that the Knicks have the added advantage of potentially the top Draft pick, significant salary cap space of around $25m and a bigger market to attract top free agents, they will be confident of producing similar results next year.
Fisher, Jackson and owner James Dolan have all moved to reassure the fans in recent weeks, but their actions and decisions over the summer will mould the future of their team.