In the lowest of the losing, Mike D’Antoni delivered history lessons to the New York Knicks. Only the Knicks coach wasn’t pitching the past of Madison Square Garden, Red Holzman and Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed, but a self-proclaimed genius born of the desert sun. Before his players, sources say, D’Antoni had started down the don’t-you-know-who-I-am route and recited his résumé of 60-victory seasons and scoring records and revolutionary basketball.
He let it be known, too, that the non-believers among them should feel free to march into Donnie Walsh’s office and demand his dismissal. More than one Knick privately laughed that they didn’t know there was an "I" in coach.
D’Antoni can call the bluff of his boss today, but he’d better be careful tomorrow. The Knicks are a mess, and league friends of D’Antoni believe he has deep regret for passing on Chicago for New York. He let his ego and agent push him out of Phoenix, and let his desire for money over winning pass on Chicago. Make no mistake, though: That was two months ago and this is now. New York has a Garden winning streak of six games, and New York isn’t on his case for the holidays.
Wojnarowski is one of the best in the game, but my problem with his piece lies right in that last paragraph: "That was two months ago and this is now." There you go! Then why write the article now? I have no doubt that in the throes of losing, D'Antoni chewed out his players and made things personal. Nobody looks pretty at 1-8, or whatever the Knicks were in that moment. That said, the Knicks are in the midst of an 8-3 December and D'Antoni has them competing for a playoff spot. New York's doing things right, if just momentarily, for the first time in a while. Can't we be spared the forced D'Antoni-Del Negro parallels and the stale locker room horror stories for the time being?
Click through for the rest of the article and let me know what you think. There are plenty of jabs in there about the draft and then 2010, and it just doesn't seem fair. Not now. In an article that was ostensibly about the Bulls, this felt like an untimely avalanche to dump on D'Antoni and the Knicks.
Update: More reading: Leitch's take.