The Knicks made a very bold move in attempting to bring in a coach who will be able to establish a new culture in New York, bringing in former Grizzlies head coach and Heat assistant David Fizdale. He is still a very young coach at 43 years old and brings a passion and drive to the table unseen from a Knicks coach in a very long time. He’s devoted his life to the game and is finally getting his chance as the head coach of a marquee franchise and gets to make his mark on the league.
Fizdale is a firm believer of motion spread sets and modern offensive schemes reliant on three point shooting. The year before Fizdale took over following Dave Joerger’s departure, the Grizzlies shot only 18.5 threes a game which was 25th in the league. The first year of Fizdale, the Grizzlies shot 26.5 threes a game to rank at 14th in the league. The points per game as a team lowered as did the pace. This can be attributed to a league worst percentage on shots inside the arc and a league worst overall shooting percentage. Fizdale runs a great amount of his offense through the Elbow series, which would complement most of our roster and allow Porzingis to get to his spots easier and allow our guards to make reads of the defense and find the open man much easier than constant high screens.
Fizdale also brought the Grizzlies defense from 19th in the league to 7th using a core of just about the entirely same roster. He utilized each player’s skillset and maximized their effectiveness when it came to defending as a unit. Lead by former DPOY, Marc Gasol, he was able to coach Memphis into a true grit and grind style of basketball. Fizdale also improved the defensive rebounding rate by 2.8% from the prior season, while still starting the same big man combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. He knows the game really well and is able to identify coverage and come up with game plans in order to take a team out of their rhythm and make them uncomfortable offensively.
What it Means for the Players:
Fizdale played a key role in modernizing the offenses of Chris Bosh and Marc Gasol, helping them to acquire a shot from deep and become more valuable as a member of the offense. As the back to the basket game has slowly dissipated, big men who were able to spread the floor came into high demand and Fizdale forced that change in their game to occur in order to help them succeed. Fizdale has always been seen as a player’s coach who most notably went to war for his players in an attempt to earn them more foul calls that he felt had gone uncalled to that point in the series. Fizdale has a no-nonsense approach and expects performance out of his players regardless of if they’re a star or a role player. His feud with Gasol should be taken with a grain of salt, it began as a dispute over changes in his offensive game, ending with a benching as a result of his poor play which inevitably lead to Fizdale’s firing.
Take that for Data!