Our latest Western Conference head coaching blowup came courtesy of David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
In the third quarter of the Grizzlies’ 122-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Fizdale wasn’t happy about a questionable foul call on Tony Allen and went into a tirade against the referee, having to be held back by lead assistant J.B. Bickerstaff. Fizdale was quickly assessed two technical fouls and tossed from the game, the first ejection of his career.
Fizdale, a first-year head coach, has kept the Grizzlies competitive out West this season, leading them to a 33-23 record and the No. 6 seed. Friday’s incident proved that he can also be competitive when it comes to the sideline explosions usually reserved for his bigger-name counterparts.
Video via NBA Reddit
Had NBA scouts known eight years ago what they know now about Russell Westbrook, it’s possible the Oklahoma City Thunder star would have been the top overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. And if the story Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told this week is true, teams should have seen it coming.
Fizdale was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat in 2008. The Heat selected Michael Beasley at No. 2 overall that year behind Derrick Rose. O.J. Mayo went third, and then Westbrook at No. 4. When asked Thursday if Westbrook seems to be playing with an extra chip on his shoulder this season, Fizdale said it’s nothing different from what he saw in 2008.
“I thought he was already on his way to this,” Fizdale said. “I’ll never forget the year they were drafted, not to call out (Beasley), but one day we had to drag Beas out of the bed in Vegas to get him to the gym to work out. Russell Westbrook had already been in that same gym for two hours, full sweat, and he asked Beas, ‘Where you been?’
“It was like oh man, is this how this kid really is? He went another hour going at the speed you see him play. What I’m seeing now is just a byproduct of the work this kid has put in.”
Sure, Rose won an NBA MVP award and was one of the best point guards in the NBA for a bit, but he has not been able to stay healthy. Anyone with half a brain would take Westbrook over him right now. And Beasley and Mayo? Forget about it.
Does Westbrook have a chip on his shoulder? Just have a look at some of his past dealings with the media, and you’ll have your answer. Is that chip now even bigger with Kevin Durant having skipped town? Probably, but Fizdale’s story is another reminder that it has always been there.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale expressed disappointment with the team’s leadership after his squad blew a 17-point lead on Tuesday night.
The Grizzlies were up 63-46 midway through the third quarter against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, but they lost in overtime 112-109. It was the team’s third straight loss, which left Fizdale pointing the finger at his team’s leaders.
One of the team’s leaders is Marc Gasol, who had 24 points on 8 of 22 shooting. He did not seem to appreciate Fizdale’s comments.
After enjoying plenty of success without Mike Conley, including a six-game winning streak, the team has lost three in a row since the point guard returned from a back injury. Whether Fizdale is talking about Gasol, Conley, or veterans like Zach Randolph or Vince Carter, it’s clear the Grizzlies need to get back on track.
Memphis Grizzlies first-year head coach David Fizdale has some lofty expectations for new free agent acquisition Chandler Parsons.
In an interview with Tim MacMahon of ESPN on Friday, Fizdale, a longtime assistant under Erik Spoelstra in Miami, said that he envisions using Parsons the same way the Heat used LeBron James.
“When I said I want to play him like LeBron, I do,” Fizdale said. “I really do want to use him, because there’s not many guys in the league at that size that have that skill set, and there’s no reason why I should put a cap on his abilities because his name isn’t LeBron James. I just see the same skill set.
“He’s not a high flyer like LeBron obviously,” Fizdale continued. “But he can pass it, he can shoot the 3, he’s huge, he can post guys and he moves great without the basketball, so I can move him around in a lot of different spots. I do not want to put a ceiling on him. I want to see how far we can go with him and put him in a role that is positionless. … I think all it takes is a coach showing that he has the confidence in a guy to do it and develop him according to the system and then it can take place.”
Note that Fizdale isn’t quite comparing Parsons to James, a once-in-an-eternity talent whose combination of elite physical tools and unparalleled skill/basketball IQ may never be seen again. Rather, Fizdale is drawing attention to their similarities in play style as well as how to most effectively utilize said play style.
During his time in Miami, James was deployed as the primary initiator of halfcourt offense (namely, pick-and-roll/slash-and-kick sets) and used his driving ability and playmaking prowess to engineer an unyielding pace-and-space offensive machine. On defense, James was free to prowl on the perimeter rather than having to bang with opposing power forwards down low (a task that usually went to Shane Battier instead).
Something similar could be in store in Memphis this season for Parsons, a lanky 6-foot-10 combo forward who is comfortable both handling the basketball for significant periods and stroking it from deep (a 38.0 percent career three-point shooter) when needed. The Grizzlies also have enough rugged athletes on their roster to prevent Parsons’ balky knees from taking any unnecessary punishment on the defensive end.
With Fizdale already making some major changes to the Grizzlies’ modus operandi, he’ll hope that Parsons can live up to his billing as a max-contract player as well for his rookie season as a head coach to be a successful one.
Image via Ximo Pierto on YouTube
One Memphis newspaper is feeling embarrassed on Friday after running a photo of Juwan Howard that they thought was of David Fizdale.
Fizdale was hired as head coach by the Grizzlies this week after previously serving as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat.
While running a photo for a story talking about Fizdale, the Memphis Commercial Appeal used one of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra with an assistant. Unfortunately that assistant was Howard, not Fizdale.
I guess they sorta look alike? Not really, but they have to do better.
It seems the Memphis Grizzlies have found their next head coach.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies have offered their head coaching job to Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale. The two sides are working on a contract.
Fizdale, 41, has been an assistant with the Heat since 2008. He previously served as an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors. Prior to coaching in the NBA, Fizdale was a college coach at the University of San Diego and Fresno State.
A 2013 Palm Beach Post article described Fizdale as an “integral member of the Heat staff,” who was equally valued by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, and the team’s stars, which at the time included LeBron James in addition to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
His strength is said to be his communication as he was often a go-between among the Heat players and head coach, having earned the trust from both groups.
The Grizzlies reached the playoffs for the sixth season in a row, though their record slipped to 42-40 this season. They fired Dave Joerger earlier in May after three seasons on the job.