David Fizdale brought in to change Knicks losing culture
While many may question the hire, David Fizdale is now the head coach of the New York Knicks. Fizdale was hired after the Knicks interviewed what felt like 200 candidates, including big names like Mark Jackson and former Knicks coach Mike Woodson.
Regardless of how you feel about Fizdale as a coach, he clearly made some kind of impact on the Memphis Grizzlies during his brief tenure there. Fizdale led the Grizz to a playoff appearance in his first season as head coach and wasn’t given much of a fair shake in his second season. Fizdale was fired after just 19 games last season, a move sparked by the lull of play after Mike Conley’s injury and Marc Gasol’s displeasure of Fizdale.
Now Fizdale is in New York, facing a lot of the same issues he faced with Memphis. He’s coming into a situation where he has little to no help from a personnel standpoint. He has a star player who will probably miss the entire year rehabbing a torn ACL, and a bunch of completely unproven young players. Oh and he’s lumped with Joakim Noah’s contract still.
This season and maybe even next will not be about wins and losses. The Knicks are going to be bad. They’re going to be very bad. The key to this season is growth and maturity. If Fizdale is ever going to win with this team he needs to first instill a winning culture inside the locker room. The culture of losing the Knicks have had for years needs to change before they see a big uptick in wins.
In my mind, most of the reason why this hire was made is because Fizdale is a player’s coach. He is in the trenches with his guys. He is less about analytics (clip of data) and more about instilling confidence in his young players. He will go to bat for his team no matter what, as seen in the below video after a loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs two seasons ago.
To be blunt, the Knicks have stunk because they’ve always picked the wrong person. Whether it be a coach, draft pick, or free agent they’ve failed to change the losing culture because they’re more worried about grabbing a marquee name. Mark Jackson was the marquee name on this list but they went with David Fizdale instead.
It may be a very small step in what is a long road ahead in fixing this Groundhog Day-esque Knicks team, but it at least shows that MAYBE the Knicks have figured things out. They still need to learn to not draft unproven European players, sign aging players to ridiculous contracts or blow double digit leads in the 4th quarter but it still is a step in the right direction. Who knows, maybe the Knicks will surprise some people.