David Fizdale reacts to Knicks’ hiring of Tom Thibodeau
Tom Thibodeau is set to take on the challenge as New York Knicks head coach, a role that has rarely gone smoothly for his predecessors.
For what it’s worth, one of the last men to hold the position, David Fizdale, thinks the hard-nosed veteran coach is the right man to helm the foundering franchise.
“I think [Thibs] is a great hire. I think Thibs is a hell of a coach,” the former Knicks coach said on SiriusXM Radio, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “He demands hard work and toughness out of his guys. He was a hell of a coach to coach against.”
Fizdale added that “the biggest step now” for Tom Thibodeau will be “getting players he needs to be successful.”
That sounds obvious, but it didn’t occur during Fizdale’s tenure with the Knicks. He was let go after 104 games, compiling a 21-83 record after signing a five-year, $22 million contract.
The Knicks’ young players largely failed to show any meaningful development under Fizdale, with the arguable exception of Mitchell Robinson. His New York squad also struggled defensively, a quality not often often associated with Thibodeau.
Two other ex-Knicks head coaches could reportedly join Thibodeau’s staff: Mike Miller (who served in an interim role after Fizdale’s ousting) and Mike Woodson.
Thibodeau was an assistant in New York from 1996-2003, but Fiz still believes Woodson’s presence would benefit Thibs.
“You know, it’s not an easy place to work, it’s not an easy place to coach,” Fizdale said. “There’s a lot of different things that swirl around the team and that’s just what comes with being the New York Knicks.”
The Knicks went 21-45 in 2019-20.