D’Antoni is D’one

14 03 2012

The Knicks have had one of the oddest NBA seasons out of any team in the league. It just became that much weirder.

Mike D’Antoni has decided to step down as the New York Knicks head coach. Mike Woodson will step in as interim head coach and try to fix the mess he has in front of him.

Warren LeGarie, D’Antoni’s agent, told ESPN’s Ric Bucher that the coach and the franchise have “conflicting views of the Knick’s future.”

D’Antoni was 121-167 during his 3½ seasons in New York. The Knicks reached their first playoff appearance in seven seasons last year, but couldn’t muster up a win against Boston in the first round.

Currently tied for No. 8 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks (18-24) haven’t won since Feb. 29, losing their last six games and seven of their last eight.

Coming into this season, many had high hopes that the Knicks would finally bring success to New York (not me). With the insertion of defensive specialist Tyson Chandler into the starting line-up, The Knicks were expecting him to have an impact on the entire team similar to the influence he had on the Mavericks during their championship season. Unfortunately, one man can’t make an entire team play defense – every player has to buy into that mindset. They struggled through the first 23 games, holding an 8-15 record.

Then, Jeremy Lin happened. Linsanity happened. Linning – winning happened. Out of nowhere, this kid came off the bench against New Jersey, propelling his team to a win. After that, he started and won the next six straight games. The Knicks seemed to be the new “Team-You-Don’t-Want-To-Play-In-The-Playoffs” and had the nation quickly buying into their success. D’Antoni was off the hot seat as the media praised his “system” that Lin seemingly fit into perfectly.

What was the problem with all this positivity? Carmelo Anthony wasn’t playing.

‘Melo has now returned. His style of play isn’t that hard to figure out as he loves to get the ball in his hands, drain the shot clock and take his shot. D’Antoni doesn’t want this – he wants quick play from his point guard as shooters spot up around the three-point line. (Go back and look at Nash and Felton run two of his teams. That’s a D’Antoni team.) With Lin settling in to his true skill level (average) and Anthony becoming the primary offensive force, the Knicks now look to be an over-hyped NBA team… again.

This resignation is certainly surprising. Yes, he was on the hot seat, but he only had to get through 24 more games in the last year of his contract. The difference between these two sides must have simply been too much for D’Antoni to handle. Remember, he accepted this job with no Carmelo Anthony on the team. The harsh New York media has always been on his case. This problem with philosophy came about in the middle of D’Antoni’s tenure with the organization and has never gone away.

Yet again, the nation sees a situation where the player wins over the coach. Early this season, Paul Westphal and DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t settle their differences in Sacramento. What happened? Westphal was fired.

This past offseason, the Knicks could have extended D’Antoni’s contract and they declined to do so, making it clear his position wasn’t safe for the long haul. Trading ‘Melo has never seemed to be an viable option even though he is not a player that works well with D’Antoni.

Even though Anthony’s play impacted D’Antoni’s departure, this couldn’t have been more mutual. The Knicks knew the current construction of the team didn’t fit with their coach’s style and another mediocre season would be the end of his tenure in New York. They didn’t expect him to be with the team next season. D’Antoni has a unique way of coaching and needs certain players to work his “magic” on the offensive side of the field. ‘Melo doesn’t believe in his “magic” and didn’t care to be learn about it. (Once ‘Melo was traded to New York, I knew there would be problems.) D’Antoni could only take so much criticism and so much ‘Melo before he put his hands up in the air and moved on… which he did Wednesday.

If anybody should be thrilled with move, it would have to be the shoot-happy superstar himself. Mike Woodson has always been a coach to feed his star. While in Atlanta, Joe Johnson and his monster contract got most of the attention on the offensive end of the court. It was so apparent that Josh Smith complained about not getting the ball enough. I guarantee Anthony will now get two more shots per game – exceeding twenty shots every outing. I don’t know if this will bring about more wins for the Knicks but it will get Anthony his shot attempts he craves and create a new identity for the team.

Congratulations Carmelo Anthony, you got what you wanted yet again.

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2 responses

14 03 2012
Anonymous

Very sad.

14 03 2012
Knick Knocker

Carmelo is a disease

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