The Brooklyn Nets parted ways with head coach Kenny Atkinson earlier this month. Many don’t agree with the move, including David Fizdale.
Early in March, the Brooklyn Nets made the shocking move to fire head coach Kenny Atkinson. It was definitely sudden news, being that he had them in postseason contention with Kevin Durant sidelined all year and Kyrie Irving having missed the majority of the season.
But nonetheless, Atkinson is no longer drawing up plays in the Barclays Center. This has led to many airing disappointment and portraying a general disagreement over the move. The latest to do so is former New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale, who was fired in early December.
“It’s a punch to the gut to see a colleague like that who went through the mud with the organization and really started with the foundation and really helped build the team to where it is,” Fizdale said on ESPN Radio, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “It was a kick in the stomach to hear that. Even more than my situation. I was 4-18. I can take it. I’m a big boy.
“But I think to see Kenny under the circumstances, they were seventh seed in the East, he had taken that team from a lot of Ls to now a team that was starting to become a regular in the playoffs. You look at that roster and you don’t have D’Angelo Russell now, Kyrie [Irving] misses 40-plus games, no Kevin Durant, and you’re still in the seventh seed, which I thought was awesome and amazing that he was doing that. And he was building another All-Star point guard in [Spencer] Dinwiddie. And to see that happen so abruptly, when it happened, the way it happened, it was a kick in the stomach.”
Durant ruptured his Achilles in the midst of last year’s NBA Finals while still a member of Golden State. An injury that Toronto Raptors fans wrongly cheered led to KD’s timetable for return likely falling on a date during the 2020-21 campaign.
Irving was healthy at the beginning of the year but started to miss games in November due to a lingering shoulder injury. This led to him undergoing season-ending surgery.
So in the absence of those two, Atkinson utilized the talent of guys like Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen.
The Nets played just two games after Atkinson’s exit, both of which they won amid a three-game win streak. They were 30-34 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference when the coronavirus outbreak led to the season’s suspension.