GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The worst season in franchise history hasn't diminished Derek Fisher's confidence. The first-time coach believes the Knicks can have one of the best records in team history next year.
The Bucks, who visit the Garden Friday night, went from winning 15 games last season to likely being a playoff team this season. The Knicks have 15 wins. But Fisher said he doesn't look at the Bucks for hope for the future. He's aiming much higher.
"We are not here trying to squeeze in," Fisher said Thursday. "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 by six points or less this year. So we lost 21 games on two possessions. So we don't have 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."
Challenging the 2007-2008 Celtics' record 42-game turnaround seems far-fetched, but the Knicks (15-63) are expected to make a dramatic leap next season.
That's assuming Carmelo Anthony returns to his old form after knee surgery and the Knicks, with a likely top-four pick and approximately $30 million for free agency, have a successful offseason.
Fisher also believes he will be a better coach and he may do some additional homework this offseason by attending playoff games in Cleveland or Chicago.
A five-time champion, Fisher said he didn't watch the playoffs when his teams didn't qualify or were eliminated early. But not this year.
"As a coach there's so much to learn by watching the postseason," Fisher said. "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.
"I've even thought about how purposeful I think it could be to actually be present, in person, in certain environments, especially for me in the Eastern Conference compared to the West.
"How's it going to feel to be in Cleveland in the postseason? How's it going to feel to be in Chicago? I've never had those experiences as a player. So there are a lot of things that for me as a coach this postseason, offseason, will hold."
Fisher, the all-time leader in postseason games played, said he will miss being a part of the playoffs. But he doesn't think he will be on the outside looking in for too long.
"That only becomes fuel for working as hard as you possibly can to get back there," Fisher said. "That is not something that you have to wear forever. You experience it and then it becomes fuel for future success."