Hahn: "D'Antoni Coached Scared"

It's the time of year for Knicks-related angst, and that's manifesting all over the interwebs, including amongst the P&T ranks. One manifestation of the moodiness is an upturn in grumbling over the coaching job Mike D'Antoni has done, due at least in part to the fact that D'Antoni has butted heads with members of the media in recent weeks. As citizens of a community that thrives on positivity and lightheartedness, I urge you to relax. We were forewarned that this year would get rough. Don't give in to the frustration that's oozing into the papers. It's just a basketball team, and we're all in this together as Knicks fans (cue High School Musical tunez).

That said, the Knicks are a bad, bad team, and there is room for clear-headed, reasonable criticism. Unsurprisingly, Alan Hahn is the one to deliver. He's got a very solid piece up today that's critical, but not wildly so, of the job Mike D'Antoni has done this season. I think it falls well in line with some of the knocks on D'Antoni that have come up in our game threads and discussions around the blog. Reading the whole thing will require a subscription, but here's a snippet:

D'Antoni is ripped by "experts" for such cliche things: not fouling up three, not communicating his every decision with players, for not emphasizing defense. But the real criticism - what sums all of it up - is that D'Antoni coached scared. Worried about losing when the expectations were so low to begin with.

His lack of self-confidence was never more evident than in February, when his body language showed a coach on the verge of surrender. No one ever said a word to Al Harrington about dominating the ball. No one challenged all-star David Lee to give up his body on defense and then be a leader and call out teammates who didn't stay with their man, which caused him to have to use fouls to protect the basket. That's how it's supposed to go. Lee to the bench with early foul trouble and then someone gets an earful because an important player is now out of the game. Lee bailed out his teammates by doing nothing and, as a result, took all the blame instead. Weak.

Read the whole thing if you can. Hahn's points are well thought-out and don't stink of petty interpersonal beefs. That's really what we're going for. There's plenty of room to be critical, but try not to lose your head or your sense of humor over any of this.

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