“We are going to be looking for a coach that can hold players accountable, hold his coaching staff accountable,” Scott Perry, the team’s general manager, said at a news conference last month. “A guy who is not only a good basketball mind, but a skilled communicator and an effective leader, a guy who can connect very well with today’s players.”
Fizdale was a three-year starter at point guard at the University of San Diego. He began his N.B.A. coaching career as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors in 2003 and had stops in Atlanta and Miami.
In Memphis, Fizdale was credited with trying to modernize the team by having the longtime starter Zach Randolph come off the bench and by encouraging the team to take more 3-pointers. Fizdale even worked to add the 3-point shot to Gasol’s game, reportedly giving the big man an ultimatum: attempt four 3-pointers per game or get pulled. In the 2016-17 season, Gasol attempted 268 3-pointers, up from three attempts the previous year.
Fizdale’s emphasis on having even big men shoot 3-pointers in a more modern attack should translate smoothly to New York, where the 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis is already established as a perimeter threat.
As the Knicks’ coach, he will be tasked with bringing winning basketball back to Madison Square Garden. The team has missed the N.B.A. playoffs in five consecutive seasons under the head coaches Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Hornacek. It has one playoff series win in the last 18 years.
The much-heralded tenure of Phil Jackson and his efforts to bring the triangle offense and his history of winning to town ended a year ago with little to show for it. The team finally gave up on its long-term star, Carmelo Anthony, sending him to the Oklahoma City Thunder before the start of last season.
The immediate future also looks bleak, as the team’s new talisman, Porzingis, will miss the start of the season — and perhaps much more time — because of an injury.
That leaves hopes for the immediate future riding on 19-year-old Frank Ntilikina and the team’s leading scorer, Tim Hardaway Jr. Center Enes Kanter has the right to opt out of his contract for next year, though he could sign a long-term deal.
The team does have an entry in the draft lottery on May 15, although its chance for the top pick is 2.5 percent and for a top-three pick is 9 percent.