Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tall Order for Derek Fisher

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tall Order for Derek Fisher

Article excerpt

A year ago, Derek Fisher was preparing for this day in a different way, conditioning himself for one more run in his playing career. The physical exertion was nothing compared to the challenge that begins Tuesday.

After news conferences and introductions, promises of what could be, Fisher will meet the press once more today and then begin his first training camp as a head coach Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

After almost a lifetime on the court as a player with five championship rings for his efforts, Fisher inherits a Knicks team that underachieved in ways Fisher never did. Without working a day as an assistant coach and entering a place with little patience for on-the-job learning, Fisher will be tasked with turning around the Knicks.

He has a mentor in club president Phil Jackson, who will share the stage with him today and help him install the triangle offense during camp.

And he has Carmelo Anthony to lead the team on the floor, the one star back from last year's squad after an uncertain summer during which Anthony considered leaving for greener pastures -- staying for greener dollars.

"It's different," Fisher told reporters Monday at a charity event. "I won't be out there on the court playing, but a lot of the things that factor into the NBA season, they still have to be managed.

"So now just being in a position to make a lot of the decisions that go into managing the season properly, that's different, but I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying it and just trying to do the best job I can to put our players in the best position to be successful. That's my job."

Fisher is in an odd spot, taking on a team that even Jackson admitted before taking the job was clumsily constructed. Jackson altered the roster, bringing in Jose Calderon to run the point in place of Raymond Felton, who struggled on the court last season and off it with gun charges that were a distraction.

But to swing that deal, he surrendered Tyson Chandler and left the Knicks with a hole in the middle. Possible replacements are Samuel Dalembert, the former Seton Hall center obtained in the trade with the Mavericks, and Amar'e Stoudemire, if he can stay healthy.

The roster has questions at nearly every spot. …

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