Former Knicks coach David Fizdale on Kenny Atkinson's firing by the Nets: "To see that happen so abruptly, when it happened, the way it happened, it was a kick in the stomach.” Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

David Fizdale can empathize with Kenny Atkinson’s situation, and now he is implying that the former Brooklyn Nets head coach did not have enough support from his players.

In an recent appearance on ESPN Radio, the former New York Knicks coach gave his opinion on the firing of Atkinson in Brooklyn.

“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,” Fizdale said, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “And you have to have a certain amount of support for your coach so when things get turbulent.”

Fizdale also added that Atkinson’s firing was even more gutting than his own dismissal by the Knicks in December.

“It’s a punch to the gut to see a colleague like that who went through the mud with the organization and really started with the foundation and really helped build the team to where it is,” Fizdale said. “It as a kick in the stomach to hear that. Even more than my situation. I was 4-18. I can take it. I’m a big boy. 

"But I think to see Kenny under the circumstances, they were seventh seed in the East, he had taken that team from a lot of 'Ls' to now a team that was starting to become a regular in the playoffs. … And to see that happen so abruptly, when it happened, the way it happened, it was a kick in the stomach.”

Indeed, Atkinson was surprisingly let go in the middle of his fourth season in charge despite the Nets being on the upswing with an injury-depleted roster and coming off their first playoff appearance since 2015. He was also one of the longer-tenured head coaches in the Eastern Conference, behind only Erik Spoelstra, Brad Stevens and Brett Brown.

There were reports that some of Brooklyn’s stars had a hand in the firing, and Fizdale seems to think Atkinson got undeservingly snaked here.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name every first round draft pick of the Brooklyn Nets since 1989?
1989 - 12
Mookie Blaylock
1990 - 1
Derrick Coleman
1990 - 22
Tate George
1991 - 2
Kenny Anderson
1993 - 16
Rex Walters
1994 - 14
Yinka Dare
1995 - 9
Ed O'Bannon
1996 - 8
Kerry Kittles
1997 - 7
Tim Thomas
1997 - 21
Anthony Parker
2000 - 1
Kenyon Martin
2001 - 7
Eddie Griffin
2002 - 24
Nenad Krstic
2003 - 22
Zoran Planinic
2004 - 22
Viktor Khryapa
2005 - 15
Antoine Wright
2006 - 22
Marcus Williams
2006 - 23
Josh Boone
2007 - 17
Sean Williams
2008 - 10
Brook Lopez
2008 - 21
Ryan Anderson
2009 - 11
Terrence Williams
2010 - 3
Derrick Favors
2010 - 27
Jordan Crawford
2011 - 27
JaJuan Johnson
2013 - 22
Mason Plumlee
2015 - 29
Chris McCullough
2017 - 22
Jarrett Allen
2017 - 27
Kyle Kuzma
2019 - 17
Nickeil Alexander-Walker
2019 - 27
Mfiondu Kabengele

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