R.I.P. D’Antoni ’08-’12
Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni is out after getting out to a 18-26 start to the season including a now six-game losing skid and eight losses out of the last 10 games.
From Feb. 4-15 it appeared that Jeremy Lin had saved D’Antoni’s job with a seven game winning-streak as he was playing off the pure adrenaline of actually getting on the court in the NBA. D’Antoni then chose to make Lin the creator and playmaker going forward, his version of Steve Nash in New York. Lin’s numbers came down to earth and flaws were exposed. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe Jeremy is a very good point guard, but at the end of the day he is 23 and doesn’t have the experience winning games to give him the green light. Especially when you have Carmelo Anthony, who gets 65 million dollars over three years to do one thing, put the ball in the basket.
This is the NBA, not some Disney movie where Jeremy Lin was going to come off the end of the bench and be a superstar point guard who needs the ball in his hands over a 5-time NBA all-star in Carmelo. Lin hit a game-winner and won seven games when Anthony was out, but the thing people seem to forget is that Anthony has hit 19 games winners in his career and is a five-time all-star. There isn’t a better scorer in basketball when the coach utilizes him correctly in one-on-one situations close to the basket.
I believe it when I hear that Anthony believed D’Antoni was going to be fired last off-season before he ever got traded to New York. The best play for Anthony is an isolation. You can talk about selfish all you want, but I’m not talking about an isolation out behind the 3-point line. George Karl utilized the mid-range isolation and the post isolation because No. 7 is a scoring machine when put in those situations and let’s face it, he’s basically useless unless you make him a dominant scorer. The Knicks organization knew what they brought Carmelo to New York for and Mike D’Antoni didn’t and that’s why he is no longer the coach. Carmelo publicly had his coaches back, but it was more style of play and when you have a guy as talented as Anthony actually hurting the team, then that’s on the coach.
Knicks fans are going to holler about Phil Jackson now and as much as I would love to see it, I don’t want to get my hopes up. I’m not sure that he would put his legacy on the line with this team, but at the same time he’s a coach and that passion still has to burn. He played for the Knicks, he hasn’t ruled out interest for next season so we will see. Right now it’s on Mike Woodson because the Knicks are still in the playoff hunt and I’m not ready to throw this season away yet.