The Memphis Grizzles, for some odd reason, let go of their head coach, David Joerger, following their elimination from the playoffs last month. He was quickly scooped up by the Sacramento Kings, and the Grizz began searching for a coach that will be able to whip their scrappy lineup into the contenders they were just a few years ago.
That search has ended today with an unlikely candidate.
Despite the availability of proven head coaches like Mark Jackson and Mark D’Antoni, the Memphis Grizzlies have opted to tap Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale, and offer him his first-ever NBA head coaching job. Fizdale was a primary assistant to Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra during his tenure with the Heat, which began in 2008, and was part of the staff that coached the team to two consecutive NBA titles in 2012 and 2013.
Former Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, the team’s starting point guard in both of its championship seasons, tweeted out his approval of the hiring earlier, calling Fizdale a “great coach and even a better person.”
Fizz to Memphis huh. I like that move. Great coach and even a better person. Happy for my guy fizz
— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) May 25, 2016
If the Grizzlies can stay healthy and avoid the pitfalls of free agency next season–Michael Conley is expected to test the market–they’ll boast a formidable lineup that includes Conley, Lance Stephenson, Tony Allen, Matt Barnes, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. It’ll be interesting to see what results Fizdale can get out of them in his first season as head coach.