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Knicks Stumble Falls Squarely on D’Antoni’s Shoulders
The overwhelming roar that was Lin-sanity has been quieted to a whisper.
Jeremy Lin was going to be the savior of the New York Knicks. The Harvard-educated point guard had to become a starter for Mike D'Antoni's team because injuries had limited the head coach's choices. Lin was a warm body who performed well in practice. But an NBA star? No way.
So much for perceptions. Lin came over and ran the Knicks. He took big shots and made them. He handled the ball well and made scintillating passes. He made steals when he had to and the Knicks were competing hard and winning games.
Lin-sanity hit New York and the basketball world. As the cheers were getting louder, the basketball cognoscenti whispered that the team would not be the same when Carmelo Anthony returned from a groin injury. While Lin was helping the Knicks play efficient offense and winning basketball, Anthony's hunger for the ball would ruin the Knicks' continuity.
The theory made some sense because Anthony has always been known for his selfishness. But isn't that true of all great scorers? They need to have the kind of ego that tells the rest of the team that they can be counted on to score when the team needs them most.
That's where D'Antoni comes in. A good coach makes sure all the attributes the players have mesh together so the team can be successful. He doesn't allow one player's ego to overwhelm the gameplan. A good coach would not fear the return of his ego-driven superstar when the team is winning without him. Instead, he would look forward to that day so he could devise a way for all players to compete as a unit and the team could play even better.
That's what makes the Knicks' 5-game losing streak so difficult to accept. In their 106-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at home March 11, the Knicks were beaten by a less-talented team that works hard and functions well together. D'Antoni said before the game that all coaches want a team like the Sixers that sacrifices for each other and does not have big-ego stars.
"I think that's the way to go," D'Antoni told the New York Daily News. "Every coach wants to play that way. They're doing a great job and Doug (Collins) does a great job. It should always be a team game. I think Denver made that case, a lot of people are making that case. Every coach aspires to everybody sharing the ball and stats don't matter."
That's nothing but first-class whining by a coach who is in over his head. Ask Phil Jackson if he didn't want Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O'Neal. D'Antoni is not a good coach. He should be some team's assistant, not the head coach of the Knicks. He lacks the skill to get his players to function effectively and he needs to be replaced.
The sooner the better.
New York Daily News—New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin seeing problems pile up and Mike D'Antoni may not be able to fix them
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