David Fizdale has finally been fired as head coach of the New York Knicks after eight consecutive losses. Here are the five best candidates to replace him.
The New York Knicks were always going to fire head coach David Fizdale. Barring some miraculous turnaround, the Knicks’ 2-8 start and an impromptu press conference from team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry indicated Fiz was on the hot seat, even before ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that they were angling for his release.
To be fair, the front office didn’t do its part in constructing a functional roster over the summer. Missing out on the big fish like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Kemba Walker was a massive letdown after trading away Kristaps Porzingis in a move that cleared out max cap space, but failing to upgrade the roster in any significant way while holding half the league’s power forwards for ransom was just as vexing.
With that being said, Fizdale — who was fired Friday after eight straight losses, including the last two by a combined 81 points — also did a crummy job. His rotations were highly suspect, and despite all the positional overlap, New York still has enough established veterans to at least be somewhat competitive.
A 4-18 record with a conference-worst minus-10.8 point differential was unacceptable, especially since his 21-83 record in less than two seasons at the helm gives him the fifth-worst winning percentage over the last 30 years among coaches with at least 100 games.
Both can be true: The Knicks did a poor job assembling their roster this summer, and Fiz did a poor job trying to manage it.
The question, then, in the wake of Fizdale’s firing, is who will be the next head coach of the Knicks? Let’s take a look at the best potential candidates.
- Jay Wright — Wright has thrived at the college level with a modern, NBA-caliber offense, but he’s not leaving Villanova after winning two championships in the last four years.
- Mike Woodson — Woodson served as head coach of the Knicks from 2011-14, most recently serving as an assistant with the LA Clippers, but fresh blood should be the priority over a retread, even if he was at the helm during the Knicks’ most successful season since 1997.
- David Blatt — An underrated option who had to take the fall in Cleveland, but his struggle with Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis could make a return to the NBA tricky.
- Becky Hammon — Hammon should (and will) eventually get her shot, and she’s reportedly interested, but the media storm this would conjure up might prove to be more of a distraction than anything. Plus, Hammon actually deserves nice things and a competent roster when she finally makes the jump as the NBA’s first female head coach.