GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- As the New York Knicks' historically bad season mercifully nears an end, Derek Fisher sees no reason that the Knicks can't go from worst to first in a year.
The Knicks' head coach said Thursday that the Knicks "will turn around quickly." When asked about potentially duplicating a dramatic 23-game turnaround like the Milwaukee Bucks (38-40) have done this season, Fisher said the Knicks are capable of something much more stunning.
"I guess that's possible, but we are not here trying to squeeze in, we are not here trying to go from 15 to 36," said Fisher, whose Knicks currently have 15 wins. "That's just not who we are. So it can turn around quickly. It will turn around quickly.
"But we don't really have to put a number on it," Fisher continued. "We are 6-21 in games [decided] by six points or less this year. So we lost 21 games on two possessions. So we don't have go from 15 to 36 next year. We can go from 15 to 63 if we really want to. But that is up to us."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Boston Celtics own the distinction of pulling off the greatest single season turnaround after going 66-16 in 2007-08, a 42-game improvement from a 24-win season the year before. The Knicks have already lost 63 games this season heading into Friday's game against the Bucks, who are trying to make the playoffs after finishing with the league's worst record a season ago.
The Knicks currently own the worst record in the NBA and are hoping to land the first overall pick in the draft lottery. Team president Phil Jackson also is expected to have between $25 million to $30 million in cap space this summer to use on free agents in hopes of giving the Knicks a drastic makeover.
Besides potentially having a top lottery pick and free agents to bolster the roster, the Knicks are hoping to have a healthy Carmelo Anthony back from surgery. Add on a more experienced Fisher, who is completing the end of his first season as a head coach, and the Knicks are hoping for their own amazing turnaround.
Fisher said not only does he plan to watch this postseason, but he might even consider attending a playoff game or two to learn as much as he can.
"As a player, when you don't make the postseason or the years you got eliminated early, it's difficult to watch," Fisher said. "You don't want to see the team that beat you. You hate everybody, basically. As a coach there's so much to learn by watching the postseason: how other teams are playing, the type of things they're doing at the ends of games, strategy and even listening to the coaches during timeouts the way they're addressing their team.
"I've even thought about how purposeful it could be to actually be present in person in certain environments, especially for me in the Eastern Conference compared to the West," he continued. "How's it going to feel to be in Cleveland in the postseason? How's it going to feel to be in Chicago? I've never had those experiences as a player [who spent his entire career in the Western Conference]. So there's a lot of things for me as a coach this postseason/offseason will hold."
At the moment he's not planning on attending any East playoff games but that could change. Fisher also said he wants to keep an eye on teams that could contend in the East next season.
"Things change so quickly in the game now that it is hard to predict that far ahead," Fisher said when asked if he wants to focus in on watching a particular team in the East playoffs. "A team in the playoffs could trade three guys and start rebuilding next year and you have been planning all summer to face these three guys and they are not there anymore.
"So it is really just about watching and learning from just a basketball standpoint, not really keying in on any particular team because at the end of the day, it is really about us becoming more of who we need to be and not as much about the other teams."