Jacari McRae | March 28th, 2020
Former Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale continues to speak highly of the Heat’s culture. Fizdale appeared on the Golic and Wingo show on ESPN Radio earlier this week and one of the topics discussed was the Brooklyn Nets firing of Kenny Atkinson. Brooklyn players reportedly being unhappy with Atkinson played a huge role in the coach’s departure.
Fizdale, who was in Miami from 2008 -2016, knows the importance of strong team management. He believes an organization with strong management can handle anything, particularly disgruntled players. And if an organization supports their coach, there’s nothing a player can do about it.
“When it comes to players with power, your front office has to really be strong and your culture has to be strong to weather disgruntled players,” said Fizdale, who held head coaching jobs with the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies. “And you have to have a certain amount of support for your coach so when things get turbulent.”
During Fizdale’s time with Miami, he had the opportunity to coach LeBron James for four years. During those four years, Miami made four NBA finals appearances, winning two NBA championships. Even though the team won championships, there were times where things appeared rocky.
“I’ll give you a perfect example, it wasn’t always perfect in Miami between (coach Erik Spoelstra) and LeBron. But one thing we knew for sure, Spo wasn’t going anywhere, because he had the support of (team president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison), from the standpoint of, ‘This is our culture, this is how we do things, and everyone has to adjust to that.’ That’s the thing I respect so much about those teams like San Antonio and Miami, they make the players adapt to their culture. They don’t go the other way.”
When the Heat went 9-8 during the 2010-11 season, Pat Riley could’ve fired Erik Spoelstra. However, Riley held firm with his belief of Spoelstra and Spoelstra coached the Heat’s super team to two NBA titles. Spoelstra is now the second-longest-tenured active coach with one team, trailing only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images