Earlier today, the Memphis Grizzlies hosted an exclusive Q&A session between Pete Pranica and the new head coach David Fizdale. Coach Fizdale has a strong reputation as a player's coach, and he confirmed that and a few other things in his Q&A. Fizdale's tone was comfortable, confident, and genial.
As a newcomer, forging strong connections with players takes priority over implementing a new system according to Coach Fizdale. Fiz acknowledges the importance of ethos prior to his logos (i.e. you work harder for a boss you like and who realizes your talent and potential). We know David Fizdale has a high appreciation for player development, but he elaborated this appreciation extends to rookies and veterans alike. Fizdale talked about Dwyane Wade's resurgence and how he modified his game, as well as Chris Bosh adding a 3 point shot to his repertoire. Do we truly stand on the verge of Gasol making it rain from deep as a strategy?
None of this players-first mentality is to say Coach Fizdale doesn't value analytics. Fizdale made clear that he places a big emphasis on preparation, playing effective player combinations, and keeping track of streaks and trends. In fact, Coach Fizdale said-
"I'm going to lean on [John Hollinger] a lot...
-in reference to a focus on a useful analytics-based approach.
I'm thoroughly excited for Coach Fizdale's career in Memphis, and I think he'll fit well with both the players and front office.