Shortly after he was fired as Knicks head coach in February 2016, Derek Fisher said he thought implementing Phil Jackson's triangle offense was complex because it "requires so much terminology-wise [and] specific skill set-wise."
On Wednesday, he took his admission to another level, telling FS1's "The Fair Game Show" he may not have accepted the Knicks job had he known ahead of time Jackson wanted him to run the triangle offense.
"Had he said, 'Hey, Fish, you have to run the triangle. There's no way around it. If you're not going to do that, it's going to be an issue and maybe we need to go in a different direction,'" Fisher told FS1, according to ESPN's Ian Begley. "... Those weren't conversations that we had. So our communication wasn't effective that (would have) allowed us to both go into the situation knowing this is what it's going to be."
Fisher spent one and a half seasons leading the Knicks, going 40-96 overall and 23-31 midway through the 2015-16 season before he was fired.
Two months after he was fired, he called Jackson "one of the greatest basketball minds" ever, and on Wednesday he took the blame for the lack of direct communication between him and Jackson, who was fired as Knicks president in June 2017.
"I wasn't smart enough to ask the right questions going into taking and accepting the job," Fisher said. "'What are you going to expect from me? Do I have to run the triangle? If I don't want to run the triangle, is that going to be a problem for you?' Those are things that I wasn't prepared to coming straight from being a player."
Fisher said he thought Steve Kerr, who passed on the Knicks gig and eventually became head coach of the Golden State Warriors, handled the situation in a way he wishes he could have. In
"Steve Kerr was prepared to do that, which is part of probably why he didn't take the job in New York," Fisher said. "He knew how to ask those questions from the place of experience that he'd been in Phoenix. And just maybe having been out of the game a little longer than I."
In not asking those questions and in not having that type of communication with Jackson ahead of time, Fisher said he put himself and the franchise in a larger hole.
"I put myself in a tough position to start," he said. "And then from there, yes, I do believe that part of our struggle in New York was, one, feeling that I didn't find a way to communicate effectively that would allow for him to understand my vision and where I saw the team and where I saw us going. But also for me to understand his concerns and what he wanted to continue to see from me or things that were important to him."