• Brendan Smart

Former Memphis Grizzlies Coach David Fizdale “Humble” In Return to Memphis

New York Post

The break up between former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale and Memphis came out of nowhere last season, but it seems that it was for the better looking back at that weird time frame.

Before Memphis decided to tank last season, and there was no prognosis on Mike Conley, David Fizdale and the Grizzlies seemed to be going through the pit of misery. Losing eight straight games, and a random benching of Grizzlies center Marc Gasol in that eighth loss for the entire fourth quarter. Fizdale didn’t seem to make any comments on that game, while Grizzlies center was questioned following the loss about his trust in the coaching staff. Gasol looked at the floor, and took three seconds to respond. Gasol responded, but those three seconds screamed

The silence set alarms off around the Grizzlies fan base, and by noon the next day, Memphis had lost another coach, but it seemed to work out for both sides. Gasol, who was a guy that was used to skipping out on postgame pressers, and not dealing with chaotic basketball had to deal with nearly 70 games of it last season.

“It showed me when a guy needs to be taught something, and when a guy needs just simply an arm put around him,” Gasol talked about that experience last season and what he learned before starting his 11th NBA season in Memphis.

For Fizdale, he spent last season on several ESPN NBA pregame shows and afternoon shows. Fizdale, in a way got a pass from dealing with the media following his dismissal from Memphis, and ended up in his dream job as head coach of the New York Knicks.

Fizdale gained the experience in Memphis, and even tried embodying the city of Memphis during a tough time with this country and Civil War statues in the South. Fizdale is very good at adapting to different situations, and that is in part to his minor in Mass Communications at San Diego.

Having dealt with Fizdale prior to games and even in some post games, I can tell you he could sell you on anything, and always had answer for the tough questions. As for his coaching throughout a game, which was questionable, I can say that he needed that experience in Memphis game managing.

Flash forward one year almost to the day, and Fizdale is returning to Memphis for the first time. “I’ve got a lot of people in Memphis that I still love and care about, and I root for them,” Fizdale said prior to his return to the Bluff City.

On Gasol’s end, he gave Fizdale a lot of credit for his development over the last two seasons. “I’m a better player because of David (Fizdale) one hundred percent. Even though last year was tough for everyone, I am a better this year and last year and even the year before that… A lot of that had to do with him (Fizdale),” Gasol talked about Fizdale’s role in his development.

Fizdale came out on the winning side of Sunday night’s matchup at FedEx Forum in Memphis as the Knicks ride a three-game winning streak. For Memphis, the Grizzlies are now riding a two-game losing streak after winning five straight.

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