Tom Thibodeau may no longer be in the NBA, but his spirit lives on in New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale.
After the Knicks suffered a 113-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Fizdale defended the heavy minutes he was giving to rookie star RJ Barrett.
“He’s got the day off tomorrow,” said Fizdale, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We gotta get off this load management crap. Latrell Sprewell averaged 42 minutes for a season. This kid’s 19 years old. Drop it.”
Barrett, who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game so far this season, played a whopping 41 minutes on Sunday, despite the game being a blowout from the first half onward. That brought his total on the year to 37.1 minutes per game, and he now leads the league in total minutes played.
While Barrett should indeed be getting significant playing time so that he can develop, there is a balance to be struck between that and not trotting him out unnecessarily in noncompetitive situations. All told, this is not the first time that Fizdale’s game management has come into question.
Kristaps Porzingis’ decision to demand the New York Knicks trade him came as a surprise to many, including his former head coach.
Knicks coach David Fizdale admitted that he was “really surprised” at Porzingis’s trade request, indication that its suddenness caught the organization off guard.
When asked about it, Knicks coach David Fizdale acknowledged in an interview with @TMKSESPN that he was ‘really surprised’ when Kristaps Porzingis informed the franchise he wanted to leave in late January.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 12, 2019
The Knicks granted Porzingis’ request quickly. It happened so quickly, in fact, that some interested teams didn’t even know he was available until he was already a Dallas Maverick. It doesn’t paint the prettiest picture of a Knicks organization that seemingly rushed into a trade that they didn’t really know they’d be making not long before they actually made it.
The New York Knicks became an unlikely topic of discussion during the Academy Awards show on Sunday night, thanks to some banter between Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee.
Jackson came up to present an award alongside Brie Larson and made sure to inform Lee that his beloved Knicks had won and snapped their 18-game home losing streak. That prompted a quip from Lee, who said the Knicks were “trying to tank.”
The Knicks were not happy about the tanking talk. Knicks head coach David Fizdale offered a “no comment on that part” to the New York Post.
Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in a recent trade with the Mavericks, said the team is trying to win, not tank.
The players on the floor are probably trying to win as Smith says. The thing about tanking is the front office does what it can to put together a team they don’t think will be able to win much even when the players are trying hard. New York has succeeded at that as they have the second-worst record in the league.
If they’re able to strike it big with a high draft pick and land a top free agent or two, the Knicks could turn things around quickly.
Sunday’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies carried some special significance for New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale.
In what was Fizdale’s first game back in Memphis since being fired by the Grizzlies, the Knicks came out on top by the final of 103-98. After the contest, Fizdale’s players gave him a surprise celebratory ice bath, and it led to the veteran coach getting a little emotional.
“My suit is ruined,” said Fizdale, per the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy. “Emmanuel [Mudiay] came up to me, him and Tim [Hardaway Jr.) both, were just hugging me and telling me it was for me. And then they all came in and I lost it [crying].”
“I know I took it personal,” Mudiay was also quoted as saying. “Actually all of us took it personal. We wanted to come out here and get a win for him.”
Fizdale served as Grizzlies head coach for two seasons from 2016 until his sudden dismissal 19 games into the 2017-18 campaign. He then took the rest of the year off before signing a four-year deal to coach the Knicks last May.
The 44-year-old coach had some memorable moments in Memphis, but the revenge factor had to make his return on Sunday that much sweeter.
- David Fizdale
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale appeared to have a noteworthy miscommunication with his best player this week, but he insists the confusion has been cleared up.
Kristaps Porzingis is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season, and Fizdale told reporters earlier this week that the big man is at the stage in his rehab where he has been able to do some light running but no sprinting. Hours after Fizdale made the remarks, Porzingis shared the following photos on his Instagram story:
“ porzingis hasn’t ran since surgery” …….porzingis- pic.twitter.com/68xv2FKnYV
— (@WoodinNYK) November 9, 2018
That was an obvious response to what Fizdale told the media, and the coach admitted on Friday that he was unaware Porzingis had been running sprints. He said he believes the former No. 4 overall pick was frustrated that people thought his rehab was progressing slowly.
David Fizdale said he wasn't aware that Kristaps Porzingis has been sprinting. He spoke to Porzingis about it today and said they are on the same page and in a good place.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 9, 2018
David Fizdale said he thought Kristaps Porzingis’ Instagram post was a result of frustration over the perception that he wasn’t working hard during his ACL rehab. “He took it personally. It got to him that people would think that.” Again, Fizdale and Porzingis spoke this morning.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 9, 2018
It still remains unclear when Porzingis will return, but he obviously wants the world to know he is making progress. While there has been plenty of talk about him sitting out the entire season, the latest report sounded a bit more optimistic.
Dwyane Wade presented a parting gift to an old friend who made his return to Miami as the head coach of the New York Knicks.
Wade is in his last season in the NBA, giving him one last opportunity to compete against friends he’s made over his Hall of Fame career. On Wednesday, the Knicks visited Miami for a game against the Heat. New York is coached by David Fizdale, who spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Heat prior to getting his first head coaching opportunity with the Memphis Grizzlies.
After Wednesday’s game, which Miami won 110-87, Wade presented Fizdale with a signed No. 3 Heat jersey.
The Knicks lose to the Heat by 22 tonight in their first blowout loss of the season. They’ve dropped four in a row after beating Atlanta in the opener. It was David Fizdale’s first game in Miami as Knicks head coach. After the game, Dwyane Wade gave Fizdale a signed jersey. pic.twitter.com/RF3mJ2K9Pk
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 25, 2018
Fizdale was popular with the players during his time in Miami, especially Wade. When he was fired by the Grizzlies, Wade and LeBron James voiced their displeasure on social media.
David Fizdale is trying to start his tenure as New York Knicks head coach on the right note.
Fizdale said during an ESPN broadcast that he and his wife are set to visit with Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia in two weeks.
David Fizdale says in an interview on the ESPN broadcast of Knicks-Lakers that he and his wife are scheduled to visit Kristaps Porzingis and his family in Latvia on July 23.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 11, 2018
Porzingis is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and might not be ready for action until midway through next season. Despite that, the 22-year-old versatile big man is viewed as the cornerstone of the team. He has improved each season since being drafted in 2015 and averaged 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season. The 7-foot-3 big man also drained an impressive 1.9 three-pointers per game.
The two reportedly had a “great conversation” after Fizdale was hired as the team’s new head coach, although Fiz was recently roasted for an odd suggestion he made.