NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a season full of hope in the first full campaign under club president Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks are struggling with a new offense, a rookie coach and a frustrated star in Carmelo Anthony.
Coach Derek Fisher, who won five NBA titles as a guard for the Lakers under then-coach Jackson, has been cool and calm in his new role but showed growing impatience against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday when his club fell to woeful 5-22 record.
Just past the halfway mark of a first quarter in which the Knicks trailed by as much as 19, a disgusted Fisher swapped out his entire starting lineup for five reserves.
“The guys who started the game were a disappointment to their teammates,” Fisher said.
Anthony said he has never gone through anything like this in his 11-year career, with a seven-game losing streak followed by a 10-game skid, but was not second-guessing his decision to re-sign with the Knicks as a free agent.
“You just gotta believe,” Anthony, who was pursued by several teams during the offseason, said after Wednesday’s practice. “I have never been a quitter in my life or in my career.”
Players have been slow to adapt to the triangle offense, an unconventional scheme that helped Jackson win 11 NBA titles with the Bulls and Lakers and one that Fisher is trying to implement in New York.
Jackson, 69, has been criticized for his first big trade, sending center Tyson Chandler to Dallas in a multi-player deal that brought back point guard Jose Calderon.
Chandler has thrived in his return to Dallas (19-8), where he won an NBA title in 2011, while Calderon is struggling after missing three weeks with a calf injury.
“I’m not playing my best basketball for sure,” the Spaniard told Reuters. “It’s going to take time and I think for a point guard it’s even more difficult because it’s not just about myself.
“It’s about getting the ball where we want it, how we want it, where the teammates have to be. There’s a lot on my plate and I just got to be better.”
The prospect of more trades, a high draft pick based on their poor record, progressive trust in the new system and the possibility of luring a key free agent or two in the next off-season now fuel hopes at Madison Square Garden.
Editing by Frank Pingue