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New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher has revealed that the biggest surprise he has had as a coach is the need to motivate and inspire players.
The Knicks got off to a franchise-worst 5-36 start to the season and although they enjoyed a recent three-game winning streak, it has done little to hide the disappointment of their year.
Team president Phil Jackson essentially pulled the plug on the campaign earlier this month by trading both Iman Shumpert and JR Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which has left coach Fisher even further short-handed with a group struggling for confidence.
With Carmelo Anthony continuing to battle through knee soreness, Fisher has revealed that the biggest shock he has had since becoming coach of the Knicks is the need to motivate players even at NBA level.
“Probably what jumps out the most is you still have to work pretty hard to motivate and inspire guys at this level,’’ Fisher told reporters.
“Something a guy who came into the league in 1996, that wasn’t required. If you weren’t self-driven and self motivated, you couldn’t get on the floor. As coach, you still have to find ways to push buttons and get guys excited about playing the game. As a player for 18 years, my brain worked that way. It’s one area that continues to evolve — find ways to help my guys be more inspired and more motivated.”
While Fisher isn’t in any danger of losing his job given the circumstances in New York this season, he will be desperate to improve next year if the franchise is able to land some key pieces for the roster.
The Knicks are expected to make a significant splash in free agency along with their Draft pick, and so they will harbour ambitions of getting back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference next season with Fisher hopeful of having a group motivated to get better.