Derek Fisher the player became a well-respected veteran presence in NBA locker rooms not only due to his history of producing consistently under the most pressure-packed of circumstances, but also because of the way he could command the room when giving speeches to his fellow players.
That communication style, however, may not be seen under the same positive light coming from Fisher the head coach.
In his new role patrolling the sidelines for the New York Knicks, Fisher has the cache that comes with winning championships and playing 18 NBA seasons. But at least one source believes that Fisher will have to reduce his customary chatter in order to hold his players’ attention.
Fisher’s speech-making skills are good for dreary lockout meetings and introductory press conferences. But this is what one Thunder insider told me during the conference finals:
“The thing that worries me about Derek as a coach is it’s one thing to give speeches as a player because it’s unique,” the source said. “But the players don’t want to hear long speeches from the coach every day during the season. Players may roll their eyes. Hopefully, Phil will guide him there.’’
One person close to Fisher says admiringly, “He has the ability to talk a lot but not really reveal anything.’’
Fisher was hired primarily because of his prior relationship with Phil Jackson, and Jackson will most certainly mentor him throughout the learning process.
If the players indeed grow weary of Fisher’s extended dialogues, it’s something that should be evident the moment the trend emerges, and it’s something that can be easily fixed. But it seems more than a bit silly to start looking for reasons Fisher might fail before he’s worked a single day of the five years he’s now under contract as head coach of the Knicks.