New York Knicks

Kurt Rambis blames Derek Fisher for the New York Knicks triangle failures, saying despite the results it’s not a difficult system to run.

By Chip Murphy

Derek Fisher seemed like the right fit when Phil Jackson took over the New York Knicks.

Jackson hired his protege to run the legendary triangle offense and appointed trusted confidante and friend Kurt Rambis as his emissary to make sure things went smoothly.

Though we thought it made sense, we couldn’t have been more wrong. Fisher was fired and more importantly the triangle has been a flop. According to Rambis, that is all Fisher’s fault.

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According to Ian Begley of, the “feud” between Rambis and Fisher began when the latter appeared on NBA TV as an analyst. Fisher commented on the triangle of course.

“It’s difficult to implement a system that requires so much terminology-wise, specific skill-set-wise, and it’s not impossible to do it. But I think it makes it more challenging for a team to develop during the course of the season compared to other teams who aren’t asking that of their players.”

Now this is far from the way Fisher claimed he felt when he took the Knicks’ job back in June of 2014.

One of the many reported reasons that Fisher was fired is that he strayed to much from the be all and end all triangle for Jackson’s liking. If anything it proved that there was a dissent in the ranks between Jackson and Fisher. Apparently not just Jackson and Fisher, but Fisher and Rambis.

Rambis brutally disagreed with Fisher’s assessment of the triangle, saying that despite the Knicks record for the last two seasons the triangle can work.

“First off it’s not difficult. It’s like learning anything new. You have to open up your mind and be receptive to learning something new. That’s a huge part of it. Phil [Jackson] and [triangle architect] Tex [Winter] have always felt it takes players, regardless of who they are, a good year when you’re staying in it, when you’re executing it the way it’s supposed to be executed.”

Rambis blamed the lack of the success on Fisher and the lack of practice time focused on the triangle.

“If you want learn something, and truly learn something, you have to immerse yourself in it. That probably goes for about anything. We didn’t fully immerse ourselves into practicing [the triangle], developing it, learning how to work with it, going through the breakdown drills to execute it properly so we kind of skirted over things,” Rambis said Friday prior to the Knicks’ shootaround.

Rambis continued, further criticizing the team’s approach without mentioning Fisher’s name.

“The real learning process of it didn’t have enough time to take place. We also didn’t allow the players the kind of time that it needs in terms of putting in the time to allow them to get comfortable with it. And then you start getting into the season when we weren’t scrimmaging a lot, and practicing a lot. You need those days, you need that time to allow players because the light turns out at different times.”

Perhaps the biggest problem in all of this is that Rambis’ words seem to echo that of Jackson’s.

This guy could end up being the next head coach and he’s nothing but a figure head for the boss. Say whatever you want about Fisher, but at least he had some of his own ideas.

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I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.