Knicks put “D” back in D’Antoni
Most Knicks fans nowadays weren’t old enough to see, or comprehend the style of play the Knicks displayed back in the early ’90s. It was a tough, slow grind, hard-core defensive effort game, offense was far down on the priority list. We do however get to relive some of the moments lately on MSGTV, with shows like Knicks Greatest Rivalries and a few others. Even when I watch those shows, it doesn’t depict the game’s style of play quite like how I remember. The most recent memories of Knicks games(mainly the last three seasons) have been the complete opposite of those from the ’90s teams. Most fans know what the new Knicks teams consist of, fast-paced , up-tempo offensive style. I wont sit here and write about Coach D’Antoni’s defensive deficiencies, its been overly expressed, but what I will touch on is Knicks owner James Dolan taking a stance on the “7 seconds or less” game that the Knicks have adapted.
The first step was the hiring of former Hawks Head Coach Mike Woodson as an assistant coach. Woodson’s a guy who seems at times like he only worries about defense. Now the NBA isn’t known for coordinator type coaches like the in the NFL, but it was so obvious that the team was hurting on the end of floor that they went out and did just what NFL teams do, hire specialty coaches.
With Mike D’Antoni entering the final year of his contract, and rumors swirling of Zen Guru Phil Jackson looking to relieve him of his duties next season, Mike has agreed to adjust his style of coaching. The next big step was Knicks interim General Manager Glen Grunwald acquiring Tyson Chandler like a thief in the night, true it was after knowing the Knicks had no shot at CP3, but he still gets credit for making the move. All of these things I believe is coming down from the Knicks hated owner James Dolan.
With a shortened season due to the lock-out, it will be even that more difficult to completely change the motto that the new Knicks have been accustomed to, mainly D’Antoni.
The projected starting line-up will feature: Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.
Douglas is a great young defender at the point guard position, a rarity in this day in age. He does however struggle with the floor-general qualities that the Knicks need from the 1 spot, but if D’Antoni’s influence can help, he may in fact turn out to be a suitable set-up guy.
Fields is another rare type of guard, he defends, rebounds, and does not demand the ball. Wow, is he really a shooting guard?
Melo, well…we all know what he can do, drop 40 in his sleep, and knock down game-winning shots. He’s also shown when it counts, he can defend one-one vs. the opposing teams best scorer’s.
Amare can do almost anything on the offensive side, dunk, mid-range, beat defenders from the block, etc. On defense, he may not be the most polished player the Knicks could ask for but he can average a few blocks a game. What he doesn’t do is change the opposing teams thought of driving to the basket.
Enter Tyson Chandler, this seven-footer is the perfect compliment to scoring Forwards, he does not need the ball to be effective during the game, in fact he does exactly what Amare does not!
So lets recap: They have a point guard who defends well and can knock down open threes. A shooting-guard who does everything good, including defend. One of the best scoring duos at the forward spots, and a all-out true defensive center.
Is this team make-up good enough to secure Mike D’Antoni a future with the Knicks? Only time can tell, but what we do know is that the owner/GM has put together a very good blend of talent to give Mike the best shot a going deep into the playoffs. It all on Mike now.