David Fizdale named Head Coach of the New York Knicks
On Thursday, David Fizdale, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies, met with the New York Knicks. At the end of the meeting Fizdale agreed to a four-year deal where he would be the Knicks’ new head coach. James Dolan signed off on the decision, with Steve Mills and Scott Perry ready to begin the implementation. Fizdale was fired from the Grizzlies back in November. The same fate met former Knicks head coach, Jeff Hornacek, at the end of the 2017-2018 NBA regular season. After going through several candidates, including Mike Budenholzer and Mark Jackson, the Knicks decided that Fizdale was the man for the job.
Prior to his short stint with Memphis, Fizdale served as an Assistant Coach with the Miami Heat. He was very much present through the “Big 3” era in Miami, where the Heat went on to win back-to-back champions in 2012 and 2013. Fizdale stayed on for two more seasons after LeBron James parted from South Beach. Fizdale took on the head coaching position with Memphis in 2016. He led the team to a 43-39 record, ultimately resulting in an early playoff exit at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Fizdale returned in the 2017-2018 season to make a deeper playoff run. However, the front office grew frustrated and fired him after only 19 games into the season. Since then Fizdale has been waiting for another shot, which the Knicks have finally given him.
The Big Picture
Fizdale has been to the Finals on more than one occasion. He has battled titans, such as the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs, while coaching the in the West. He is a reasonable option for the Knicks to pick up. The real question is whether or not he will be successful?
The Knicks were quick to sign him to a four-year agreement, however the Knicks have usually seen little return on their haste investments. New York has been adamant about emphasizing its vision of a young, developed core. While Fizdale may be able to develop such a squad, his last two teams largely were reliant on their veterans. A few names that he coached were LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Marc Gasol, Vince Carter, and Zack Randolph, all seasoned players in the NBA.
Fizdale will be taking on a team where the best players are a fourth year, injured Kristaps Porzingis and a fifth year Tim Hardaway Jr., who is still learning how to be efficient. The rest of the group is comprised of young players and a few veterans with consistently average to below average statistics. All that is to say that next season will be an uphill battle for Fizdale and the Knicks.
The Knicks chose Fizdale for a reason. They have a vision in place that they believe he is best suited to carry out. Perhaps they’re correct, perhaps not. Either way, he has been selected to take the reins of this franchise. There is an unspoken learning curve that will be attached to Fizdale’s hiring. The front office will have to be patient if they want this decision to yield any real fruit. With a few key trades and the right selection in the upcoming draft, Fizdale could bring another banner to the Garden.