David Fizdale was officially announced by the New York Knicks and as expected, the message is overwhelmingly positive.
New York Knicks Name David Fizdale Head Coach pic.twitter.com/txSx3U3slt
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) May 7, 2018
Jim Dolan has always had a hand in how the team is run and this can make life difficult for a coaching staff. But for now, Dolan has nothing but glowing praise for Fizdale. Dolan said of Fizdale:
“David is a bright and creative basketball mind who is highly respected throughout the NBA. I’m confident that Steve and Scott identified the right coach to lead this team to the success our loyal fans deserve.”
Hopefully, Dolan has enough confidence in this regime to avoid interfering in basketball operations.
Team president Steve Mills spoke about the qualities that Fizdale possesses that will make him successful in New York. Mills said:
“He is an experienced coach, strong leader and effective communicator, who understands what it takes to build a winning culture.”
Effective communication is always a key for a head coach. One of the biggest knocks on Jeff Hornacek was that he didn’t connect or communicate well with his players. His poor communication was evident during the Joakim Noah saga that became one of many black clouds hovering over the Knicks season.
Fizdale and Marc Gasol’s clashing in Memphis could be cause for concern. But it also could be something that Fizdale learned from that will help him in New York.
General manager Scott Perry is indicating that Fizdale checks all the boxes. Perry said:
“His championship pedigree, resiliency and expertise in player development make David well-suited to establish the Knicks as a consistent winning basketball team.”
He’s referring to Fizdale’s days in Miami as an assistant coach for the LeBron James led Heat when he mentions championship pedigree.
The word resiliency indicates that Perry knows this isn’t going to be easy. Next season is already looking like an uphill battle. Not to mention, New York can be brutal for the head coach of a losing team.
Expertise in player development is self-explanatory. The Knicks have a lot of young talent waiting to be unlocked. They hope that Fizdale can get the best out of Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., and whoever they draft this summer.
Fizdale gave a short comment reiterating his intent to build a winning basketball team and he thanked Dolan, Mills, and Perry for the opportunity. Fizdale said:
“I want to sincerely thank Jim, Steve and Scott for this tremendous opportunity. I appreciate the enormous responsibility it is to coach the Knicks and am ready to give my all to build the type of winning team the passionate fans of New York will be proud of.”
Fizdale is saying all the right things right now, but we all know this is the easy part. There’s nothing Knicks fans can legitimately get upset at Fizdale for right now. But don’t get too comfortable because this is going to be far from easy.
He’s going to take a beating from the media and the Knicks fanbase but—if Fizdale can take the Knicks back to prominence, he’ll be a hero.