Strange, but true: In his four years on the staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Josh Longstaff never saw an NBA game in person.

The Portland native’s duties as a video analyst required him to be in the locker room during games, charting the action on a computer, then compiling highlights so coaches could look at key points of the game during halftime.

“I would go out on the floor 40 minutes before the game, but well before the game started I was in the locker room preparing for my job,” Longstaff said.

That routine is about to change.

The New York Knicks have hired Longstaff, 32, as an assistant coach. The former Portland High star and Gorham High coach will be one of the five assistants under new head coach Derek Fisher. Longstaff will likely sit behind the bench during home and away games, charting the action. He’ll coach in practices and games, and help implement strategy.

Longstaff became close with Fisher while the 18-year NBA veteran played for the Thunder the past three seasons. Fisher retired as a player after last season and was hired in June by new Knicks president Phil Jackson. Fisher played a total of nine seasons for Jackson when Jackson coached the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Derek is so consistent in everything he does,” said Longstaff. “He’s a great leader. When he was about to be named Knicks coach, he talked about moving me out of video and joining him with the Knicks as an assistant coach.”

Longstaff has been working for the Knicks for about a month, although his hiring did not become official until the team filled out its coaching staff Thursday. He worked with some of the New York players in July during the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas.

“To have Derek Fisher actually offer him a job means that when he worked with something in Oklahoma City with Josh on the video, something must have clicked,” said Joe Russo, who coached Longstaff at Portland High.

“To take this young man, with no coaching experience, and say I want him on my staff, speaks volumes for Josh. Usually you try to get more experienced coaches. The stuff that (Fisher) liked is probably the stuff we know about Josh: He works his butt off, his attitude is infectious, he’s an easy guy to be around and he knows his basketball. He’s eager to learn. He’s got the full package.”

Even though his full title with the Thunder was video analyst/player development, Longstaff said: “I was treated like a coach by head coach Scott Brooks and the other coaches.”

Longstaff would help edit video of Oklahoma City’s upcoming opponents, breaking down team and player tendencies, then presenting it to the coaches.

On occasion the Thunder would need an extra body for practices and it wasn’t unusual for Longstaff to find himself guarding All-Star Russell Westbrook. Once in practice, Westbrook (“a freak of an athlete,” Longstaff said) broke Longstaff’s finger.

Other times he would rebound for NBA MVP Kevin Durant during shooting drills. The players got to know and like Longstaff.

“When I went to Oklahoma, I wanted to be like a sponge and soak everything up and grow as a coach,” he said.

Longstaff, who played college basketball at Bryant University, hoped to play in the NBA when he was in high school. When he realized that wasn’t going to happen, he set the goal of becoming an NBA coach.

“This young man played for me for four years and he was … an overachiever,” said Russo.

“Josh was 5-foot-6 as a freshman when he made my team. He was so darned determined. I knew Josh would be successful no matter what he did. He wanted to play in the NBA. He got there through coaching but he got there.”

And maybe it’s only another step.

“My ultimate goal is to be an NBA head coach,” said Longstaff.