The Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly fired David Fizdale after the team fell to 7-12 with their loss on Sunday night.
Late Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a bomb of nuclear proportions — the Grizzlies elected to get rid of coach David Fizdale and promote associate head coach JB Bickerstaff for the time being. The decision comes on the heels of Memphis’ loss to the Brooklyn Nets, which was their eighth in a row.
Marc Gasol, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter of that game, was verbally upset. There’s no news yet that he had anything to do with the firing. It’s just coincidental.
The Grizzlies started the season 7-4 and looked to be in a position to challenge for a middle playoff seed if their good fortune continued. It did not. Mike Conley hurt his Achilles on Nov. 14 and was given a timetable of “at least two weeks.” In the following days, Wayne Selden and Brandan Wright went down with injuries.
Fizdale was in his second season with Memphis after spending 13 seasons as both an assistant coach and an associate head coach with the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat. The Grizzlies went 43-39 last year before the San Antonio Spurs dispatched them in the first round after six games.
This decision by Memphis is bizarre. Nothing about the team’s front office with Fizdale seemed cancerous, and the city seemed to rally around him after his infamous “TAKE THAT FOR DATA!” rant during last year’s postseason. On top of that, he employed a philosophy that was right in the Grizzlies wheelhouse and exemplified grit-and-grind.
Memphis has been extra-annoying to play over the last two years, and physically wearing teams out makes up for the talent disparity. Despite his lack of head coaching experience, David Fizdale shouldn’t be on the market for long.
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