Ummmm ... hi, everybody. How about that Super Bowl, am I right? Anything else going on today?
As Seth already noted, the Knicks fired head coach Derek Fisher this morning. One game before the All-Star break. That was unexpected. We'll have more coverage of Fisher's fall in the near future, but for right now let's focus on the guy replacing him, interim head coach Kurt Rambis.
Rambis began his NBA career with the Knicks, sort of -- the 'Bockers took him with a third-round pick in the 1980 draft and gave him a 10-day contract, but he never saw a minute of playing time. He wound up on the Lakers, where he won four rings as a player.
After retirement, he spent a few years as an assistant coach in Los Angeles before accepting their interim head coach position during the 1998-99 lockout season. His Lakers finished with a 24-13 record and beat the Rockets in the first round before falling to the eventual-champion Spurs. After that he became an assistant under -- you're never going to believe this -- Phil Jackson!
Sadly, Rambis is best known for his two-year stint as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he went 32-132 over the course of two seasons. Reviews of his performance were ... unkind.
Kurt Rambis in Minnesota was the worst head coach I've ever seen. True story.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) February 8, 2016
so sorry, Knicks fans. When he was w/ the Wolves, Rambis was the worst coach I've ever seen. This is not hyperbole https://t.co/xGxLwmnqXM— Patrick Fenelon (@Patrick_Fenelon) February 8, 2016
At least one prominent Wolves blogger, Zach Harper, was willing to give Rambis a kinder review, pointing out that no coach would have succeeded under the reign of terror of one of the worst general managers in NBA history, David Kahn:
Kahn has been the laughingstock of the NBA because he's been both arrogant in the way he discusses his moves and because of the moves themselves. Rambis was never the right hire for this job, considering he wasn't involved initially at the beginning of this Kahn-led rebuilding process.
Between the time Kahn took over the team in late May 2009, and when Rambis was hired in early August 2009, Kahn had already made five trades involving 17 different players. He also had butchered four of the 30 first-round picks in the 2009 draft.
Rambis was not a very good coach over the past two years. His teams were inefficient offensively and abhorrent defensively. Last season, it seemed that he was one of the worst fourth-quarter coaches in the entire league because of how the Wolves seemed to kick away leads. (Yes, they actually had fourth-quarter leads.) But I'm not so sure he was as bad as his 32-132 record would suggest.
"I'm not so sure he was as bad as his 32-132 record would suggest" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. Whatever. Rambis knows the ways of Phil Jackson, has worked with these Knicks, and should provide a reliably mediocre bridge to whatever new regime the front office installs in the summer. If he can keep Carmelo Anthony relatively healthy, teach some post moves to Kristaps Porzingis, and maybe coax something more out of Jerian Grant, his brief tenure in New York will be a success.