New York Knicks David Fizdale Jerry Stackhouse
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

New York Knicks head coaching candidates David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse are receiving high praise from big names.

David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse are among the most likely candidates for the New York Knicks head coaching vacancy. Both are seen as up-and-coming coaches in the league and the Knicks would be lucky to have either of the two.

Fizdale was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies midseason, but he was very likely a victim of circumstance. He lost arguably his best player in Mike Conley to injury. But he also had a frayed relationship with Marc Gasol, which appears to be a major factor in his ouster. He’ll have to answer Steve Mills and Scott Perry’s questions regarding the tense relationship with the Grizzlies’ big man.

That being said, Fizdale comes highly recommended from big names around the league. Ian Begley of ESPN spoke to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and the championship coach had this to say about Fizdale:

“Fiz is a great fit anywhere. He’s a brilliant basketball mind that has exceptional, gold-standard level communication skills. He’s one of my best friends. But I say that objectively. I just think he’s one of the most talented coaches I’ve been around. I feel very grateful that we had an opportunity to work together for so long. I just, I hope he goes West (laughs). That’s the kind of respect I have for him. I don’t want him going anywhere in the East.”

Fizdale was an assistant for Spoelstra on those championship-winning Heat teams and he has always received high praise from LeBron James. So if there’s any doubt about Fizdale’s ability to connect with superstars, they should be put to rest.

Earlier this week, ESNY’s own Ricky Keeler broke down exactly why Fizdale is the right man for the job in New York. When you look at his endorsements, pedigree, and ability to flat out coach, it’s clear why he is an excellent candidate for New York.

But Fizdale isn’t the only coaching candidate receiving praise from people in high places. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Alabama head coach and former NBA player, Avery Johnson was quick to praise Stackhouse. Johnson told Berman:

“You’ve seen his impact with the style of his team — he has very good communications skills with his players, definitely has a presence about him,’’ Johnson said. “The X’s and O’s, that’s easy for him. He understands the game. His team is prepared, good spacing and he’s a more balanced coach. Don’t want to box him as a defensive or offensive coach.”

Stackhouse may not have the NBA head coaching experience, but he’s a former player with a sterling reputation among NBA circles. Avery Johnson touches on all the things you want in a head coach. Good communicator? Check. Presence in the locker room? Check. Advanced knowledge of the game? Check.

His ability to develop young talent is another reason for the Knicks to seriously consider Stackhouse. Stackhouse is largely credited with developing the current Toronto Raptors bench. Fred Van Vleet, Pascal Siakam, and Delon Wright have all been vital contributors to the top-seeded Raptors. All three spent significant time with Stackhouse in the G League for the Raptors 905.

The Knicks are a team with a bevy of young players who need to develop into rotational players. If they can develop the likes of Luke Kornet, Damyean Dotson, and Trey Burke into key rotational players to surround Kristaps Porzingis, the team could be a contender as early as 2019. Stackhouse may be the right man for the job for that reason alone.

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NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.