Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks have hit rock bottom…
We can now officially say that the N.Y. Knickerbockers are in a free-fall. They have reached the basketball abyss and there is no light in sight save for Baron Davis’ debut in the Blue and Orange. This has been a team that’s lost 9 of it’s last 10 games, have some talented players, but are mired in mediocrity. Before the season began, the Knicks chose to amnesty Chauncey Billups and his $14.2 million contract to make cap space for Tyson Chandler. They boasted a front court that was arguably one of the best in the league with Amare, Melo & Tyson. The three were widely heralded as the ‘Knicks Future’.
But without a legitimate point guard, and thus no coach on the floor, their season has rested on the shoulders of coach Mike D’Antoni. However he has not been able to get his team to buy into his game plan nor do they have the talent to do so. The run and gun offense that D’Antoni was so successful with in Phoenix, has stalled here in New York because it cannot function without a floor leader. PG’s Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert do not collectively equal one Steve Nash. The problem is that D’Antoni, knowing that he’s deficient at the one, has done a miserable job of coaching with what he does have.
Case in point, take the last two games against Miami and Houston. The tandem of Douglas and Shumpert; the starting & back-up point guards, had 13 assists between them in the two games and because of that, the team put up 69 threes! No team in the NBA will win many games doing that. None. The Knicks under D’Antoni are 7-13 and in 14 of those 20 games they have failed to reach 100 points. The team is also shooting a dismal 41% from the floor which ties them for last in the league.
Notwithstanding poor shooting and ill-advised plays, the Knicks should have, and could have won their last two games. On Friday they were only down 3 at the start of the 4th quarter to the Miami Heat and that was without the services of Carmelo Anthony. In the Rockets game on Saturday, they were facing a team without their all-star shooting guard Kevin Martin and with Kyle Lowry having an off night finishing the game with 3 points. They looked (especially Amare Stoudemire and Toney Douglas), dispirited, and seemed to have lost confidence and intensity. All of these things could be changed by a more inspired, concerned, and focused coach through better shot selections, game plans and strategies. And maybe by a coach that was not a lame duck…
The thing is, at what point does D’Antoni take the bulk of the blame for his team’s uninspired performance. Almost a third of the shortened season is over. It’s time to stop looking back and reflecting on how the Knicks gave up too much in the trade for Carmelo Anthony. It’s done. Get past it. It’s time to stop agonizing over the loss of Chauncey Billups. That train has left the station as well. It’s time for D’Antoni to pull his troops together and start coaching-unless this is the best he can coach. In which case maybe he’s what’s wrong with the Knicks and then perhaps it’s time to hand the reigns over to the gentleman to D’Antoni’s left; former head coach and highly regarded, Mike Woodson. The Knicks are 1-9 over their last 10…how much worse can it get?
Something isn’t clicking but I don’t think it’s the coach
D’Antoni can’t coach without a superstar PG, that is the problem. I blame Steve Nash for making him an Overrated Coach.
Granted he needs a PG. Doesn’t even have to be a superstar. Jose Calderon is not what you would consider a ‘Superstar’ but he’s been in the top three in assists in the league all year. All they need is a facilitator-does’t have to score 20 points a game…
Problem is D’Antoni cannot coach with what he DOES have. In the last two games for example, the Knicks’ starting & backup PG’s: Shumpert & Douglas took 50 shots! It would have been nice if they made most of them but to add insult to injury they shot 32%, making just 16 of them. And because they’re shooting so much they’re not passing. And to prove the point, they only had 13 assists in both games…combined.
Agreed he’s overrated.
Thanks for commenting…
Sadly, I also think the Knicks are victims of overly high expectations coming into the season! It’s not D’Antoni’s fault but clearly Melo isn’t going anywhere so the coach will take the blame (Someone mentioned that the Nuggets had a better record since he’s been traded than the Knicks – unbelievable!)
When the team takes 43 three’s in one game that’s not the player’s fault though. Last night however, I’m guessing D’Antoni finally told Melo to distribute the ball once in a while because he had 6 assists by halftime. Of course last night’s opponent, Detroit, has only won 4 games all year so..
By the way, since the Carmelo trade, Denver is 32-14 while the Knicks are 22-26.