Editor's note: thanks so much to Jeremy Jordan for providing the following quotes from the press conference for Coach Fizdale and to Sharon Brown and Carmen Patton of All Heart in Hoop City for their help as well. I owe all of you guys one.
David Fizdale was introduced officially as the new head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies in a press conference earlier today. Our very own Wes George gave a great perspective on the festivities, and Grizzlam himself broke down the Q&A that Coach Fizdale did with Pete Pranica on Grizzlies.com earlier. Now is my opportunity to get in on the fun. Let's take a look at some more quotes from Coach "Fizz" as he met the Memphis media for the first time today.
"After the interview, I knew this was a place I wanted to start my head coaching career."
This is refreshing, isn't it? So often, part of the Memphis Grizzlies fan experience is the chip on the shoulder that so many carry. It's that feeling that no one WANTS to be in Memphis, that "Memphis vs. Errybody" is a little bit too accurate a little bit too often. Here's a guy who left Miami to come to Memphis; granted it's for a promotion and more money, but Fizdale was in a good spot on South Beach. He could have waited for a "better job" a year or two from now, but instead he chose here and now to start his head coaching career.
That feels nice.
"At the end of the day, we want to turn defense into offense..."
Another welcome thing to hear. For a team as offensively challenged as Memphis, they must be able to take more advantage of the mistakes of other teams that the Grizzlies force defensively. That isn't to say that Dave Joerger or Lionel Hollins before him didn't make this a priority; surely they did. But Fizdale's perspective and experience are different from those two gentlemen, and his work with Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley in recent years may have given him some wrinkles to better reach this roster as they age.
"I don't see any guys on this roster who can't get better..."
This took me back a bit, and also made me excited to see what Coach Fizdale brings to the table. Even the veteran horses, the "legacy guys" as Coach called the Core Four of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen, can get better? Well sure they can, depending on the area, but how willing will they be to make adaptations to their games? Time will tell, and it will be up to Coach Fizdale to build the trust and relationships necessary to push those buttons. Dave Joerger clearly was not very good at this, especially towards the end.
Fizdale on Robert Pera: "We speak the same language. He's so open-minded to stuff and innovative..." "He's about culture & hiring talent and letting them work. He's a basketball junky..."
Any and all insight into the man of mystery that is Robert Pera is welcome. In his latest interview on the Chris Vernon Show on 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis, he spoke of hiring people and letting them do their job. It would appear Fizdale and General Manager Chris Wallace may well be given that opportunity fully in the coming years. Pera is hands-off, and to an extent that is good, but when he does make an appearance in an interview, or is even discussed in an interview, it is noteworthy. Pera's role and shadow will continue to loom large on these Grizzlies as they enter the Fizdale era...
"I'm ready for a busy summer. It's been hectic but these guys have kept me organized so far."
That's good, Coach. It's going to be all down hill from here.