Fisher's big challenge? Motivating players

The biggest challenge of Derek Fisher's young coaching career might surprise you.

It has nothing to do with all the New York Knicks' losses or the unfulfilled expectations. It's about getting his players "excited to play the game."

"Probably what jumps out the most is you still have to work pretty hard to motivate and inspire guys at this level," Fisher said late last week. "[For] a guy who came into the league in 1996 [as Fisher did], that wasn't required. If you weren't self-driven and self-motivated, you couldn't get on the floor.

"As a coach [in today's NBA], 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."

Fisher didn't name names when talking about players who weren't self-motivated. But he's noted recently that the players on 10-day contracts -- Langston Galloway, Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas -- have brought a renewed energy to the Knicks' locker room.

The implication, of course, is the locker room lacked passion when J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Samuel Dalembert inhabited it. Fisher would never say that publicly, but it's at least fair to wonder if that's what he is implying.

Ticket prices taking a hit: Most of the time, a Knicks-Lakers game at Madison Square Garden is an expensive ticket. This season, its value has taken a hit on the secondary ticket market -- along with that of the rest of the games left on the Knicks' schedule.

The average price of a ticket for the Knicks' game against the Lakers on Feb. 1 has fallen by 37 percent in the past two months, according to the website TiqIQ.

That's a common theme for the struggling Knicks.

The average price of 15 of the Knicks' final 18 games has dropped by more than 30 percent the past two months, according to TiqIQ. (This does not include the rescheduled Knicks-Kings game.)

Since the beginning of the season, the average price for a Knicks ticket on the secondary market has dropped by 27 percent.

That's what happens when you're 8-37.

Of course, the Knicks continue to sell out home games. So the drop in ticket value on the secondary market doesn't have a direct impact on the team's ticket revenue.

Still, it's interesting to note the average ticket price this season on secondary markets (201.19) is the lowest in at least five years.

Starks chipping in for charity: Ex-Knick John Starks will be a celebrity coach at an event to raise money for diabetes research.

Starks will coach along with CC Sabathia, rapper Fat Joe and sports executive Shawn Pecas at the Hard 2 Guard 2015 Celebrity All-Star Game. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Baruch College.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to diabetes research.

"Diabetes is a big part of our community. It's really touched so many of us," said Rickey Rivers, the founder of Fun Sport, which co-hosts the event. "This is a perfect opportunity to put some emphasis on the disease."