David Fizdale is smart, knows the game, can communicate, and comes with a world of confidence.
Being head coach of the New York Knicks has felled plenty of men with those and better credentials.
Fizdale is going to get his shot. The Knicks made it official on Monday, Fizdale is their new head coach.
“After a thorough coaching search, it was clear that David would be a great fit with the Knicks and we’re thrilled that he is joining our organization,” said Steve Mills, Knicks president, in a statement. “He is an experienced coach, strong leader and effective communicator, who understands what it takes to build a winning culture.”
“I am honored and humbled to join the Knicks as head coach,” Fizdale said in the same release. “I want to sincerely thank Jim (Dolan, the owner), Steve and Scott (Perry, the GM) 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 coached just over a season in Memphis after having spent years as an assistant, most notably with the Miami Heat through their recent title run with LeBron James. Fizdale tried to convert the Grizzlies roster and style out of the “grit n’ grind” era, but it met resistance in the form of Marc Gasol. Fizdale lost that battle as coaches often do, but it didn’t diminish his reputation around the league. He was one of the most sought-after coaches on the market and had his pick of jobs.
“David is a dynamic coach who will thrive in New York,” GM 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.”
Fizdale will be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Fizdale is set to both work with the team through the draft process and fly soon to Latvia to meet with Kristaps Porzingis in person (something other Knicks brass has not done). After that, Fizdale will work to build a culture with Perry that develops young players and starts to build something sustainable in New York.
That’s going to be rough next season, with Porzingis out at least until Christmas or later as he comes back from an ACL injury. The Knicks are not going to be terribly good, this is a summer and next season are about laying the foundation. Fizdale is capable of doing that.
Let’s just hope Dolan gives him the chance.