For more than two decades now, the New York Knicks have been inundated with instability.
Since Red Holzman — the longest tenured and winningest coach in Knicks history with 613 victories — left his position the first time in 1977, they’ve plowed through 18 different coaches and only one has lasted more than five consecutive seasons. Phil Jackson’s recent arrival at the garden provided hope for a team desperate for a savvy basketball mind, but the Derek Fisher experiment proved disastrous.
The former Lakers point guard couldn’t even make it to the All-Star break of his second season and was axed with an abysmal 40-96 record to his name. Interim head coach Kurt Rambis takes the reins Tuesday night against the Wizards, looking to temporarily right a sinking ship.
He has history on his side, at least in openers. Since the Pat Riley era, Knicks head coaches are 6-4 in their debuts. Here is a look at how they fared.
Patrick Ewing scored 30 points for New York in Riley’s first game, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Magic. Six Orlando players scored in double figures on the way to a 106-96 victory. Riley and the Knicks dropped the second game of the season as well, before a four-game win streak put them in the win column. The Knicks made the playoffs in Riley’s inaugural season and were bounced by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls in seven games.
Though Riley turned the Knicks into an Eastern Conference contender, he resigned — by fax — after New York’s exhilarating seven-game series loss to the Pacers in 1994. Nelson succeeded him at the start of the following season and won the opener, 106-100, staving off a second half surge by the Pistons. But his tenure with the Knicks would prove short-lived.
Jeff Van Gundy
The Knicks were 11 games over .500 when they parted ways with Nelson because “it became very obvious that we needed to go in another direction,” New York President Ernie Grunfeld said at the time. Van Gundy took over on March 8 in a 100-92 loss to the Pacers, and finished the season a mediocre 13-10, good enough for a playoff berth.
He ended up being the longest mainstay for the Knicks in the past 15 years, as he lasted almost six seasons in the head role, bringing New York to the playoffs six times with one loss in the Finals.
Ushered urgently into the head coaching role after Van Gundy unexpectedly resigned, Chaney and the Knicks beat Indiana, 101-99, in his debut. Latrell Sprewell led all scorers with 25 and all five New York starters finished in double figures. The Knicks missed the playoffs twice under Chaney and he was fired midway through the 2004 season.
It was the Stephon Marbury show in Wilkens’ debut on January 16, 2004. He had 17 assists in a 20-point shellacking of the Seattle SuperSonics, and Keith Van Horn chipped in 30 in 28 minutes. The Knicks enjoyed some offensive freedom under Wilkens and were able to sneak into the playoffs with the seven seed, though they were swept by the New Jersey Nets in the opening round.
New York’s recent winning ways were reversed under the Wilkens-Williams combination in the 2004-05 season. Wilkens was booted midway through, and Williams took over to lackluster results. He lost his debut to the Bucks, 101-96, and would finish the season with a 16-27 record. So began the six-year playoff drought in New York.
After two Finals appearances and one NBA championship with the Pistons, Brown joined a team in turmoil at the start of the 2005 season.The Boston Celtics spoiled his hometown debut, though, beating the Knicks 114-100 in overtime. Rickey Davis scored nine points in extra time for Boston and finished with 27, squandering a New York fourth quarter comeback.
From an executive position to the sidelines, Thomas wanted to have a heavy hand in reversing the Knicks’ fortunes. In his head coaching debut on Nov. 1, the Knicks blew a 19-point lead against the Memphis Grizzlies but eventually pulled out a one-point victory in a triple overtime thriller. His stay in the role lasted two terrifically bad below .500 seasons.
The Phoenix Suns coach who had perfected the pick-and-roll offense with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire came to the Knicks with high hopes. They won a high-scoring season opener, 120-115, against the Miami Heat, led by Jamal Crawford’s 29 points. But D’Antoni suffered through two below .500 seasons before the Stoudemire/Carmelo Anthony era began in Madison Square Garden.
Woodson’s stint with the Knicks got off to a high-powered start with a 121-79 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. After D’Antoni was axed, Woodson went 18-6 down the stretch and the Knicks made the playoffs for the second year in a row. Linsanity happened, Anthony became the focal point of the offense, and then suddenly Woodson was gone too despite an appearance in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the team’s first since 2000.
Phil Jackson hand-picked rookie head coach Derek Fisher after his first choice, Steve Kerr, decided to sign with the Warriors. Kerr went on to win the NBA Finals in his rookie year while Fisher’s Knicks went 17-65, earning the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft. They landed Kristaps Porzingis with the pick, who provided a brief spark for the Knicks but the team still struggled under Fisher’s leadership. After a season-and-a-half into a five-year deal, Fisher held an abysmal 40-96 record and was fired by Jackson.
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With Derek Fisher out and Kurt Rambis in, a look at how past Knicks head coaches fared in their debuts have 1256 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at February 9, 2016. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.