Atlantic Notes: Smith, Knicks, Fisher

Since arriving in Philadelphia Ish Smith has averaged a career-best 12.4 points and 6.0 assists, but the 26-year-old isn’t sure whether he fits in with the Sixers‘ rebuilding plan yet, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. When asked if he had found a home with the Sixers, Smith responded, “I don’t know. I don’t ever really think about it. I kind of just play and let the chips fall where they may. For me, it’s getting better every quarter, every minute, figuring out what coach wants, and we’ll see from there this summer. This is a good situation. This is the first time I think I’ve played a lot of minutes. A lot of people ask for opportunities. I’m just glad I’m able to be productive in those minutes.” Smith will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks coach Derek Fisher has endured a nightmarish first season in New York, but he does believe that the franchise can turn things around dramatically next season, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. When asked about the possibility of the Knicks going from 15 wins to 63 next season, Fisher said, “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. 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. 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 to 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.
  • Fisher also believes that having to play out the string while out of contention has been a learning experience for him and the team, Kerber adds. “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,” Fisher said. “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.

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