There’s one person the New York Knicks should hire as their next head coach: former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale.
With the New York Knicks continuing their search to find their next head coach, one name that has surfaced as one of the favorites for the job is former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. While Fizdale doesn’t have the fame that Mark Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy do, he should be the man that fills the role as Knicks head coach.
For one, you have to look at what Fizdale did with the Memphis Grizzlies. He was 50-51 in over a year with the team, but he is well known for taking Memphis to the playoffs in 2016-17 and giving the San Antonio Spurs a tough six-game series.
When you go back to that first round matchup, Fizdale’s name isn’t remembered for any coaching adjustments that he made against Gregg Popovich or any out-of-timeout plays. Instead, he is remembered for the “Take that for data” quote after Game 2 for the free throw discrepancy in that game.
This quote showed that Fizdale is going to stick up for his players and that is important in today’s era of basketball. After the Knicks dealt with the Phil Jackson era and running the triangle offense, they need a head coach that the players are going to respect and want to play for now and the future.
It’s probably going to take the Knicks a few years to get back into contention. If that’s the case, they are going to need a head coach that free agents will want to come and play for, possibly speeding up the rebuilding process. Of course, it helps Fizdale that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are big fans of his from when he was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat during their title years.
I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 27, 2017
Of course, Fizdale’s successful tenure as an assistant coach isn’t defined by what he did with the Heat. In his final season as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks (2007-08), the team finished under .500 (37-45), but they found their way into the playoffs and competed with the eventual NBA champions, the Boston Celtics, in a seven-game series.
While Fizdale did have some issues with Marc Gasol while he was the head coach at Memphis, he does do a good job of relating to his players more often.
“He’s a good game coach, his preparation was great, he ran a good program,” a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post about Fizdale. “He’s also a terrific recruiter of free agents. Agents have talked about how well his presentations went in Memphis.”
During that 2016-17 season, the Grizzlies allowed the third-fewest points per game in the NBA (100.0) behind only the Spurs and Jazz and they held teams to 44.3 percent shooting from the floor (tied with Golden State for second best in the NBA).
Fizdale can bring a defensive mindset to the Knicks and it can help them grind out wins, especially since Kristaps Porzingis will miss a significant portion of next season rehabbing from his ACL injury.
The Knicks need to establish a winning culture once again and Fizdale can be that man who helps start the process of winning once again. Players will like him and fans will like that he sticks up for his players on a night-in, night out basis.