The rudderless, directionless Knicks have nothing left to sell this season. When that happens, people tend to get fired. Watch out, David Fizdale.
The excuses and positive spins had already grown stale from Fizdale even before Monday night's embarrassment in Milwaukee, the type of massacre that turns a coach's seat from hot to aflame. The Knicks let go of the rope against the Bucks in their (shield your eyes, children) 132-88 loss Monday night, failing on the front office's mandate of "being competitive." They trailed by 18 after the first quarter, 27 after the second, 38 after the third. The Knicks looked like they were playing basketball in a tiny sandbox. The Bucks were floating in open air. Then the Knicks quit and left their tiny sandbox.
Coincidentally, the defeat was to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, the reigning Coach of the Year, who the Knicks interviewed for their vacant position in 2018 but passed over to sign Fizdale.
That worked out for Budenholzer, who has won 12 in a row with the best team in the NBA. Not so much for Fizdale, who has dropped seven in a row with the worst team in the NBA.
The 45-year-old Fizdale, who has two more seasons on his four-year deal, became a dead coach on the sideline the moment Knicks president Steve Mills - at the urging of James Dolan - hijacked a postgame press conference and declared that the team needs to play better. Mills has been an abject failure as a basketball executive and saddled Fizdale with supremely flawed rosters for consecutive seasons.
But the coach hasn't done himself any favors, amassing a 21-82 record with the Knicks. There's no identity. No style of play. No sense of flow or structure. Since Fizdale lost his final eight games in Memphis, he really only has 21 wins in his last 111 games as an NBA coach. That's an ugly statistic.
And frankly, the only thing Mills has left to sell is that the coach is the problem. Every other explanation has gone to the incinerator.
From the moment Mills usurped Phil Jackson in 2017 and tried to disavow all associations with the Zen Master, nearly all the promises from he and Fizdale have proven false:
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- They were going to be an attractive destination for superstars. (Nope.)
- They were going to build an identity and culture. (Nope.)
- They were going be masters at player development. (Nope.)
- They were going to be competitive and improve every year. (Nope.)
- They were going build a team around Kristaps Porzingis. (Nope.)
According to ESPN, Mills has been "laying the groundwork" to fire Fizdale. And now you wonder again - following Monday's no-show - how close he is to pulling the trigger.
After all, what is the point of continuing down this road?
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