One of David Fizdale’s biggest regrets as Knicks head coach was that he didn’t “crack the whip” enough on his young players.
Fizdale admitted as much during an interview with NBA SiriusXM Radio on Monday, two months after he was fired by the Knicks following a 21-83 record over one-plus seasons.
“I probably needed to crack the whip a little more and be more demanding of the young guys to do more winning things,” said Fizdale, whose termination agreement with the Knicks forbids him from discussing his total experience with the team.
Fizdale was criticized during his first season as he appeared to let Kevin Knox off the hook for rookie mistakes. He came down harder on the struggling Knox this season by limiting the former ninth-overall pick’s minutes and showing him “tough love,” as Fizdale put it days before he was canned with the team 4-18.
Knox has continued to be shown “tough love” by interim head coach Mike Miller, who has guided the Knicks — made up of veterans on short-term deals and a pair of promising youngsters in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson — to a 13-19 record since he was promoted from being Fizdale’s assistant.
While it’s unclear whether the Knicks will stick with Miller next season, Fizdale already is preparing for his next coaching opportunity.
“I have to be myself throughout all of it,” said the 47-year-old Fizdale, who was groomed under basketball legend Pat Riley. “I can’t be [Gregg Popovich]. I can’t be [Erik Spoelstra]. I can’t be Brad [Stevens]. I just have to be myself, be comfortable in that section.”
Fizdale, who currently is working as an NBA analyst for ESPN, also was fired by the Grizzlies in 2017, following an undisclosed dispute with star player Marc Gasol.
Fizdale wasn’t the only Knicks dismissal this season, as the team fired team president Steve Mills last week.