D'Antoni: The Gift and/or the Curse

Let me CRYSTAL CLEAR: I am not one of those "Fire D'Antoni because we lost three in a row" cats.

I don't believe coaches should be fired because of losing streaks. I believe that a coach should be evaluated on their overall body of work, and their ability to pull the best basketball possible out of their players.

I trust Donnie Walsh and his decision-making, and Donnie believes that Pringles is the best man for the job. Cool. I'm going to roll with that.

Still, you've got to admit, D'Antoni does some things that drive me absolutely nuts.

Jump and find out if we're bothered by the same things.

1. D'Antoni's habit of waiting too long to call a timeout:

     Maybe he wants his young team to "learn how to work through rough patches" like Phil Jackson is famous for doing. But really, Mike? Sometimes, we can see the shift in momentum, and we can see the Knicks falling apart out there. They've miscommunicated on defense three straight times, given up offensive rebounds the last two times, and chucked ill-advised threes during our last three possessions. The other team is building momentum, and the deficit is growing. Still, D'Antoni waits until the deficit feels insurmountable, the players are frustrated, the crowd is booing, and the game has slipped away. Then he finally calls the timeout and screams in his players faces? For what? It's already too late.


2. What the heck is going on during those timeouts?

     Sometimes, after a timeout, the Knicks come out and play better. But it doesn't happen often enough. In fact in happens so little that I've begun to think that those times have been lucky coincidences.

     How many times have you seen the Knicks suck, take a timeout, and then come back out and continue making the same mistakes (chucking threes without ball movement, failing to put a body on opponents when the shot goes up, etc.)?

     Seriously, when you take a timeout, something is supposed to change! What is D'Antoni telling them in that huddle?


3. D'Antoni's refusal to adjust his style of play to fix our rebounding:

     Okay, so it's another day in the life of the Knicks, and we're getting humiliated on the glass. I'm not ticked because the Knicks keep losing the rebound battle, but because we never even see an ATTEMPT to address the problem! C'mon! Is this really not being dealt with in practice?

     I get it. D'Antoni wants to run, and so guys are already streaking for outlet passes when the shot goes up. Cool. But when we are losing games because we can't get rebounds, you've gotta change something, Mike! We're undersized, so everyone needs to help. ESPECIALLY because of the fact that we're undersized we should see five Knicks fighting under the rim when the shot goes up. But no. It's always one or maybe two Knicks under the rim(usually jumping at rebounds instead of boxing out), and the rest inching up the floor. When guys aren't even in the paint for rebounds, it's not because they're bad rebounders, it's because their coach has instructed them to be somewhere else.

     I'm not saying we need to become a slow-down grind it out team, but can't we secure the rebound first and then run?


4. D'Antoni's refusal to foul in late game situations when the Knicks have the lead:

     I know Seth has already done write-ups on this, so I'll leave the dead horse alone. But yo, you have to ask yourself why? Unfortunately, the only reason I can think of is "pride." And that's not a good basketball reason.


5. Communication with his players:

     I wasn't really sure if I should include this one or not, because this problem could be more media-created than we know. Whatever. D'Antoni is with his players almost all day every day. He should be talking to them constantly about their roles and what they can do to help the team.


Well, what do you guys think? Is D'Antoni more of a gift? Or a curse?

Are there other concerns with D'Antoni I haven't mentioned? Are some of my concerns unfounded?

Chime in on the comments, and DO NOT turn this into a "Fire D'Antoni" or "we need Melo" thread.

Save that shit for Berman/Isola blogs.  Peace.

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