According to multiple sources, the New York Knicks will introduce David Fizdale as the next head coach of the franchise. The Knicks are expected to hold a press conference and officially announce the news at the beginning of next week. The 43-year-old will take over a squad that has made a habit of hanging out in the loss column every season.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Fizdale embraces many of the teachings that he learned as an assistant coach for eight seasons under Erik Spoelstra. Fizdale was on the bench with the Miami Heat when Lebron James led that franchise to two consecutive NBA titles and four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals. One example of a message inherited from Spoelstra that Fizdale plans to instill in his players is to “embrace discomfort.”
Meanwhile, fans of the franchise have certainly felt discomfort after watching five consecutive seasons pass by without a single trip to the playoffs. However, they certainly have no plans to embrace the losing. Fans are hopeful that Fizdale can replicate the success that he was a part of with James and the Heat. This past season, though, fans witnessed the Knicks only win 29 games and fire head coach Jeff Hornacek after the last game of the regular season. Last season was the fourth consecutive season that the Knicks had more than 50 losses. Also, the Knicks have now only made it past the first round of the NBA Playoffs one time during the past 18 seasons. Hornacek finished with a 60-104 record during his stint with the Knicks.
This will not be Fizdale’s first job as a head coach. His reputation is that of a defense-first coach who prides himself on developing young players into reliable contributors. He had a 50-51 record as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. In his first season as coach of the Grizzlies, the franchise made the playoffs. However, during his second season as head coach, he was fired due to the fact that he did not get along with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
But reports imply that Fizdale is ready to get to work. However, his challenge will be daunting under the spotlight in New York. After he was fired by the Grizzlies, though, he told Chris Broussard of FS1, “I just think you’re not going to be liked by everybody. I don’t care about that.”