Derek Fisher: No disappointment if Knicks miss playoffs

NEW YORK -- A few hours after he walked off the court at Madison Square Garden, Carmelo Anthony shared a post on his Instagram account that included the following message:

"The path toward victory opens from where you stand."

The quote is attributed to Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher. And it's a phrase that Phil Jackson probably appreciates.

But the reality is that Anthony's New York Knicks stand on very shaky ground right now.

They've lost six of seven and are five games under .500 for the first time all season.

Their latest loss, a 97-89 setback against Boston, felt a little bit like a microcosm of their struggles over the last 10 days.

New York had little rhythm on offense, shooting 38 percent from the floor. The club was outscored 58-28 in the paint and committed 16 turnovers.

Afterward, Knicks owner James Dolan was seen by reporters exiting the executive suite with a disappointed look on his face. There might be nothing at all to infer from this. But it's worth noting.

Also worth noting? Anthony doesn't think that the Knicks are suffering from a lack of confidence.

"The morale, the confidence of this team is not going anywhere. I won't allow that to happen," he said. "We just got to turn this thing around quickly."

The Knicks are five games behind the eighth-place Pacers in the loss column with 31 games to play. It's certainly not an insurmountable deficit. But ESPN's playoff predictor stated that the Knicks had a 5.3 percent chance to make the playoffs before Tuesday's loss. Those aren't great odds.

Whether or not this matters in the big picture is open for debate. There's a segment of the fan base that would surely like to see the Knicks in the postseason. But head coach Derek Fisher doesn't see it as a make-or-break proposition. He said recently that he wouldn't be disappointed if the Knicks missed the playoffs.

"No. ... Disappointment in what? We're a developing team with a ton of new players," Fisher said on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN 98.7 FM. "There are not a lot of elite teams that are depending on rookies to carry the day. So we have to be reasonable about who we are and where we are and accept what is and not get caught up in what we should be and allow other people to define what our success is."

He reiterated that stance on Tuesday, saying the Knicks should focus on 'process' over results.

For a team looking to build something sustainable, that approach makes sense. The Knicks, despite their recent struggles, seem to be headed in the right direction.

They are vastly improved from last season's 17-win disaster. They have two players to build around in Kristaps Porzingis and Anthony. And they'll have ample cap space to add free agents this summer.

So brighter days may be ahead for the Knicks.

The present, though, has been difficult to watch.