David Fizdale can help to save this Phoenix Suns season from disaster

The Phoenix Suns are starting to unravel, but assistant coach David Fizdale could be the man to put the pieces back together again.

Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The Phoenix Suns have faltered out of the All-Star break, and are in danger of watching their season implode before their very eyes. Devin Booker is going to miss some time with a bad ankle sprain, while Bradley Beal is likely headed for surgery himself this offseason.

Josh Okogie missed Sunday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a hip issue, while Royce O'Neale and Jusuf Nurkic were banged up the previous night in another loss to the Houston Rockets. The Suns have slipped back into the play-in positions and sit seventh in the Western Conference, while they are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

They're in danger of becoming a sinking ship late in the regular season, but assistant coach David Fizdale could be the person they need to bail them out.

A former head coach himself, Fizdale has gone about his business quietly so far this season. His work behind the scenes is also testement to head coach Frank Vogel, who has never appeared threatened by the presence of Fizdale or lead assistant Kevin Young. This despite Suns' owner Mat Ishbia being willing to do whatever it takes to bring Phoenix their first championship.

With the freedom to be himself and do what he does best, Fizdale has been excellent for the group. Beal said as much himself after the loss to the Thunder, crediting Fizdale with lighting a fire underneath the group to get them back in the game. They ultimately came up short, but it wasn't for a lack of trying from Fizdale.

"I damn sure can't give you the tone (of Fizdale's message during a timeout). It was what we needed at the time and he challenged everybody, it was like he punched everybody in the chest. That's what it felt like. He gave us the message we needed to hear... he's our defensive guy, and he takes pride in that."

Bradley Beal

Coach Vogel clearly felt comfortable enough turning the team over to Fizdale after a poor start to the third-quarter, leaving him to speak to the team. Beal clearly respects him from how he speaks about Fizdale as well, which is important to note here. Stars don't always listen to head coaches - never mind assistants - and Beal taking everything on board positively is a good sign.

Fizdale is about more than just laying into guys when they need to hear it, and he has been partly responsible for Bol Bol's emergence with the group since the turn of the year. The two have formed a good bond, and it has been clear from Bol's improved performances and willingness to try and be a better defender (a low bar to clear) that Fizdale has played his part.

"That's my O.G. Any time he can help me, whether its on and off the court, defense or offense, pretty much just pull me to the side and coach me up. We have a pretty good relationship since I've been here... honestly he tells me things that I don't know, he's helping me."

Bol Bol on David Fizdale

Another glowing report from a member of the team, with the play on the court to back it up. Unfortunately Fizdale can't account for injuries that have occurred to Booker, and he can only do so much as the assistant. Having been head coach with the Memphis Grizzlies and an assistant with the Miami Heat, he has plenty of experience around gritty, backs to the wall basketball.

Perfect buyout candidate emerges after Devin Booker rolls ankle for Suns. Perfect buyout candidate emerges after Devin Booker rolls ankle for Suns. dark. Next

Which is what this Suns group needs to channel, and Fizdale can help to make that happen. He's a popular figure and one who another defensive-minded head coach in Vogel trusts. The franchise needs him to pull on all of his experience to keep this show on the road to get to the postseason, and you can bet that's exactly what he's going to do for this group.