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Rapid Reaction: Welcome to New York, David Fizdale

Photo: David Zalubowski/AP
Our first reaction to the David Fizdale hire—a smart move for a young Knicks front office in need of a respected coach.

On Thursday, news of David Fizdale’s hire as head coach by the New York Knicks was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Fizdale ended his tenure with a 50–51 record as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. A playoff berth and a strong series against a then-formidable San Antonio Spurs team suggested that he can coach well when it really matters. Further, stamps of approval from a suggested “coach killer” in LeBron James and veteran Heat guard Dwyane Wade give the impression that he can work with stars pretty well.

Personally, I think it’s a good move, but his failed relationship with Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies’ All-Star big man, is a more recent development that can’t be ignored. It’d ease my mind if he were to get in Luke Kornet’s good graces early (only kidding).

The Grizzlies’ defense, a philosophy already in place by the time he arrived, is an attractive quality if he managed to understand how to engineer a relentless defense of his own. I’m not bought on the idea that Fizdale can develop a rebuilding team, and I won’t be until I see it with my own eyes. In other words, this Fizdale hiring is a risky shot like any other in a coaching search: he’s a young coach who hasn’t proved much, and this unrefined, youthful team is his best chance to grow into the coach Knicks fans hope he is.

Scott Perry pushing the button and hiring Fizdale is the latest and possibly the most impactful move yet. The jury will be out on whether this move is good until next season, and even then the pendulum swings quite frequently in New York. If Woodson manages to get a spot on the bench, I’d be impressed with them both.

All things considered, the Knicks nailed this, and not just because it’s fan service. Fizdale is respected throughout the league. If half of what everyone says is true, he’ll be a good fit for the Knicks.

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