The Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale Monday afternoon, sending shockwaves throughout the NBA.
The Grizzlies have lost 8 straight games, including 7 straight home games, and a quick glance at their upcoming schedule shows you there is no end in sight. Memphis lost by 10 points to the atrocious Brooklyn Nets at home Sunday night, and the Nets were without 4 of their best players. To be fair to the Grizzlies, Mike Conley was out for Memphis.
Conley or no Conley, the Memphis Grizzlies should not lose at home by double digits to the Brooklyn Nets. There is no excuse for the way they played Sunday. Everyone on the roster came out flat, and nobody showed the heart that Grizzlies fans have been accustomed to seeing over the last seven years.
David Fizdale decided to bench Marc Gasol in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Nets, and Big Spain was not happy. Gasol was visibly angry, and he even said they benched him because they knew that would be what hurts him the most. He mentioned that Fizdale would never do that to Conley so why would they do that to him.
I’ve got the answer for you Marc, you have come out flat all too often this season, and at times it looks like you do not even want to be there. Fizdale has plenty of problems as a coach, but this problem is on you. If you stay engaged and play hard this is never even an issue. Instead, you sit back and stop trying, especially on the defensive end.
I do think the Grizzlies made the right call by firing Fizdale, but I also hope that benching Marc is not the reason the front office decided to pull the trigger. Fizdale needed to bench Gasol, and honestly it should have happened before Sunday.
I knew it was time for Fizdale to go last Friday. Before the Nuggets game a reporter asked him how close he thinks the Grizzlies are to snapping this skid, and his answer was 0.5 seconds. Fiz was obviously referring to Harrison Barnes’ banked buzzer beater Wednesday night to give Dallas a 1 point win over the Grizzlies.
Yes, the game ended on that shot, but no that is not what cost you the game. What cost you the game was your team giving up a 17 point lead to one of the worst teams in the NBA. What cost you the game was sitting Tyreke Evans for half of the fourth quarter when he was the only guy on the roster that could go get you a bucket. What cost you the game was only giving Deyonta Davis 2 second half minutes after his huge first half.
Fizdale lost the locker room, and there was no shot of him getting it back. The team quit on Fiz, and it was his job to have them ready to play night in and night out. Dallas has won 4 games all year, and two of them came against Fizdale’s Grizzlies. Brooklyn just came into your house, and beat you by double digits without 4 of their best players. The Grizzlies are not good enough to not take a team seriously, but it keeps happening over and over again.
Now that Fiz is out and J.B. Bickerstaff is the interim coach, it is time for Marc Gasol to act like a leader and get that locker room back on track. Zbo, Tony Allen, and Vince Carter are gone, and Mike Conley is hurt. It is up to Marc Gasol to get the guys to start playing again.
Unlike the national media, I am not at all surprised by the Grizzlies firing David Fizdale Monday. Anyone who pays attention to the Grizzlies consistently can see that Fizdale has mismanaged the roster, and cost the Grizzlies some games down the stretch with how he handled the rotation. I just really hope he was not fired for benching Marc Gasol Sunday night.
Fizdale was definitely part of the problem, but by no mean was he the whole problem. Injuries have definitely hurt the Grizz this season, and none have hurt as bad as Mike Conley’s current injury. Just because Fiz is gone does not mean the Grizzlies will miraculously improve. For Memphis to win, Marc Gasol’s attitude and effort has to improve. Marc Gasol has gotten a pass all season, but it is time for someone to finally call him out on it.