Schmeelk: More Than D’Antoni To Blame For Knicks’ Woes

By John Schmeelk
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The Knicks have lost three straight games, and hordes of irrational fans are piling on the “Fire Mike D’Antoni” bandwagon. Like all sports situations, the easiest thing to do is to blame the coach. It gives the fan base a one-stop target to solve all their problems in a single stroke.

Unfortunately, in life and in sports, things are rarely so simple.

The inconsistencies of the Mike D’Antoni crack committee are hilarious. Before this season began, they crooned only about his lack of focus on defense and how such a style could never win a championship. So far this season, the Knicks have been far more defensively oriented, playing a slower pace with less of a focus on offense during practices. So the critics have flipped and are now railing at D’Antoni for being unable to employ his high-powered offensive style with New York’s current roster.

Like most Knicks fans, I’m tired of the constant excuses about the roster and the lowered expectations. With two legitimate superstars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, and a real center like Tyson Chandler, renewed hopes of a run to the finals once again percolated in the minds of Knicks fans. But the fact of the matter is that the roster is still tremendously flawed.

The Knicks don’t have one real starting guard on their roster that is healthy. As much promise as Iman Shumpert has shown he is not ready for that responsibility. Landry Fields is not a starter on a championship team. Toney Douglas is best suited as a spark combo-guard off the bench that can score in bunches. Mike Bibby can hit an occasional jumper, but otherwise he is washed up. Worst of all, none of these players are real point guards that can run an offense.

Now we come full circle. How is this D’Antoni’s fault? Name one NBA team that wins with any sort of consistency without a single starting-caliber guard on its roster. Impossible. There isn’t one.

It’s not that D’Antoni is so stubborn that he can’t adjust his system. It’s not that his system is so particular it can’t function without a point guard. No system could. No coach could. The Knicks have a talent deficit in the backcourt that is impossible to overcome.

Perhaps things can get better once Baron Davis returns at the beginning of February, but pinning a season’s worth of hopes on a perpetually overweight point guard that is injury prone seems foolhardy. When healthy, Baron Davis has also shown the propensity to look for his own shot long before setting up his teammates. Is this the guy that’s going to get the Knicks offense going?

Relying on someone like Davis is the price the franchise paid when they cut Chauncey Billups to sign Tyson Chandler. The Knicks can use their mid-level exception on a point guard next season, but until then, this is what they are stuck with for better or worse.

It’s a reality Knicks fans will have to live with: firing Mike D’Antoni won’t do a damn thing.

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Are you a member of the “Fire D’Antoni” camp? Make your case in the comments below…

  • Ralph Anthony Rags Morales

    D’Antoni is a scrub. He has one style and the only reason players think he’s some guru is because he lets them be freelancers in this “system”. He needs A+ talent to do anything that’s beyond fundamentals because he can’t teach them. I’m sick of the same problems….we don’t spread the floor….we turn over too much….every game at every halftime, it’s the same things. Recently he said there’s no time to practice. THEN MAKE TIME. When asked, “whats your plan to stop Kevin Durant”, he said, “as if there IS a plan to stop Durant”. That would have been coy or a red herring, but in the game, he had ABSOLUTELY NO PLAN for Durant. Not even an attempt. A good coach knows how to get the best out of the talent he has, and Bibby can o an adequate job at point even if it means (gasp!) to go to a halfcourt game. D’Antoni’s system is to run up in 8 seconds to score. That means Renaldo Balkman and Jared Jeffries can shoot if they’re open; and usually from the 3pt. line. That’s the sign of stupid.

  • Rick Verlini

    I will say this again, I am not to uptight with our offense, we all realize Mike D system needs a legit pg, which we do not have at this time. That being said, why are we near the bottom of the league in rebounding? How about the lack of focus or lack of intensity? Why can’t we become a better defensive team to help offset the lack of a legit pg? All these fall on to the coach. Seems to me he has lost this team.

  • Rick L

    I think his rotations kills us. Plus what is this fascination he has with Jared Jeffries. Why doesn’t he play our other 7 footer Jerome Jordan, or the Jeremy Lin. I am sick of seeing jumpshots and switching on defense.

  • Doug

    DAntoni shouldve been fired for not giving Anthony Randolph a chance, as much as I love Amare, i’d trade him str8 up for Anthony Randolph in a second. Maybe Mare and Melo dont fit together. Either way DAntoni is not the guy to make this team a champion, its like he coaches based on the media. He’s a lackey.

  • chris b

    This coach does not do a good job of teaching period. His basic philosophy is that these guys are pros therefore fundamentally sound. They therefore do not run practices that reinforce fundamentals. This leads to very sloppy play on both ends of the floor. There is no step sliding on defense, they are an abomination in defending picks and pick and rolls. You must have 3 or four different techniques and change up on using them to different situations, or at different times. Their ball you man angles and spacing is poor. Their box out skills are poor. Now do talk about passing and ball faking, or coming off picks properly? This is a small sample of what I have seen as a lack of fundamentals that should be taught and reinforced constantly. Now we go to game coaching and making adjustments, they are very poor in his case. The team switches to a zone, and he leaves his shooters on the bench for example. This is a very abridged message to his deficiencies that I have been observing since he has been in NY. If you want more you have my email

  • lkt

    Mike D’Antoni to go and take thomas with him

  • samianalyze

    A Mike D’Antoni offense needs a serviceable point guard. Until Baron David comes back the Knicks don’t have one. Having him back should help both Stoudemire and hopefully Fields production. The glaring problem with this team is they are not able to spread the floor and that is due to a lack of effective shooting. D’antoni may have miscalculated when he said shooting guard is not a need for the Knicks. They missed out on Michael Redd and Vince Carter. Although they have Novack it is hard to get him on the floor because he has Melo and Fields ahead of him. Their shooting needs to improve big time. -Samianalyze-

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