New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher has insisted that the team will go out and play their best amid criticism from fans for winning on Monday night.
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The Knicks defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks to pick up a morale-boosting win to make it two wins in two games, but while that makes a refreshing change from a season of losing, it isn’t helping their Draft lottery chances.
Currently, Fisher’s side are the NBA’s second-worst team despite improving to 17-64 and will have a good chance of securing the top Draft pick in the lottery this summer.
However, if they win their regular-season finale against the Detroit Pistons and the Philadelphia 76ers lose their final game to the Miami Heat, the Knicks would finish in a tie with the Sixers.
The two franchises would then split the lottery odds which would give them each a 17.7 percent chance each of winning the top pick in the Draft.
While there are further ramifications involved as the lottery becomes even more intricate, the anger from the Knicks fans is essentially based on the fact that they want the team to end the season losing thus giving them a better chance of grabbing the No.1 overall pick.
“I’m sure people are upset with us,” Fisher said, ESPN reports.
“But I don’t think you can ever go out there and basically try and not play your best. Those two things don’t go together.”
Fisher reiterated that the current group of players are not thinking about next year as they are ultimately playing to keep their spot on the roster, so he isn’t prepared to tell them to not win when their livelihoods are on the line.
Jason Smith scored 20 points in the win over the Hawks and echoed his coach’s sentiments and insisted that they will take the same mentality ahead of the last game of the season.