Every year, it seems like one NBA team makes a surprising coaching decision leaving the rest of the NBA stunned.
Well, it turns out that the Memphis Grizzlies take home that honor this year, as they have fired head coach David Fizdale only 19 games into the regular season.
Memphis has fired coach David Fizdale, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 27, 2017
This comes barely a day after Fizdale benched Marc Gasol for the entire fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets, which led the Grizzlies' big man to criticize the decision when speaking with the media.
It's unclear if that had a direct impact on Fizdale's fate, but the timing is certainly on point.
The Griz have lost 11 of 13, and there was some friction between Marc Gasol & David Fizdale last night, BUT STILL. Memphis has had a bunch of injuries, and I’ve been impressed over & over with how Fiz connects with his players.— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 27, 2017
Although the Grizzlies started their season 7-4, they have lost eight consecutive games since. They went from being a surprise team, to 12th place in the Western Conference.
In his first year as a coach, Fizdale led Memphis to the postseason with a 43-39 record. To see the franchise turn on him this quick is pretty alarming.
However, the Grizzlies have had a history of firing successful coaches such as Lionel Hollins and David Joerger.
Perhaps their run of having a solid head coach can continue, as the team turns the keys over to associate head coach JB Bickerstaff.
Associate head coach JB Bickerstaff will be promoted to Memphis' interim head coach, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 27, 2017
Bickerstaff was the interim coach for the Houston Rockets in 2015, where he went 37-34 to finish out the season.
While it'll be interesting to see if Bickerstaff can keep the promotion, the shock of this decision is by far outweighing everything else.