It’s time for Mike D’Antoni to go.
This is not just a reaction to the Knicks’ embarrassing performance in Game 3 against the Celtics –when Bill Walker is your best player you are not going to win in the playoffs– but rather a qualitative assessment of his tenure with the team and in the league. The fact of the matter is New York will not win a championship under his stewardship, and pretending otherwise is a waste of time a franchise that has not won a playoff game in over a decade, and a championship in almost 40 years can afford.
This is nothing any attentive basketball fan didn’t know when he was hired. Even coaching the Suns, the “gentleman thief” could best be described as the Mike Martz of basketball. His offensive philosophy put up points in bunches, and with Steve Nash running the show was certainly a thing of beauty. However his inability or unwillingness to focus the same energy on coaching defense, and more importantly demanding effort on that end ultimately doomed Phoenix’s title chances and has hindered the Knicks’ as well (not that they were a particularly willing bunch to start with).
We knew all this going in, so this isn’t a case of buyer’s remorse; Mike D’Antoni was who we thought he was! No reasonable Knicks fan believed he would lead us to the promised land. At the time, our hope was that the lure of playing in his offense would persuade a big free agent (read; Lebron James) to come to New York and rescue the once proud franchise from the nightmare of the Isiah Thomas era. The day he was signed there were even pipe dreams of winning the lottery and drafting Derrick Rose, and look what Chicago has done with Rose and the right coach. Read more…
I’ve been waiting for this day for eight long years.
I can still remember Carmelo Anthony’s first game in the Garden, his debut for Syracuse as a freshman against Memphis. With the great ones you can always tell from the jump and Melo was no different, putting up 27 points and 11 rebounds in the opener of a legendary freshman campaign that would end with him (and Gerry McNamara) leading the Orangemen to their long awaited National Championship in 2003.
As an 18 year-old freshman, he dominated the college ranks with a silky smooth game reminiscent of his idol Bernard King. There is a beauty and elegance to basketball played at the highest level; it transcends sport and becomes almost operatic. Five parts running in motion feeding off of each other’s every step, each dribble giving birth to an act of creation, and the supremely talented offensive player serves as the maestro building the pace. As one of the game’s best pure scorers Carmelo is a master of the highest order, and has been since he announced himself to the grand stage. There’s a reason I’ve been trading him to the Knicks every year since Live 2004. That my favorite non-Knick is finally back on my team is the happiest thought I’ve had as a fan in years.
Amar’e Stoudemire on the other hand should have been a Knick from the start. While Carmelo (and Lebron and Wade) were clearly going to be drafted well before the Knicks slot in the 2003 draft, a year earlier Amar’e was on the board while the Knicks made another of the franchise crippling trades that characterized the post-Ewing era. Instead of taking Stoudemire, New York traded out of the 7th spot in an ill-fated deal, incidentally with Denver again, for Antonio McDyess and the immortal Frank Williams. At the time I was so upset I yelled to the heavens on my geocities page (yes, that long ago) berating them for not taking the next Kevin Garnett. In retrospect the trade is even more indefensible. The Scott Layden, and later Isiah Thomas-eras were fraught with that kind of mismanagement and maddening decisions that drove many a Knicks’ fan to the bottle. All it’s taken however is two-and-a-half years of Donnie Walsh, and basketball is back in the Mecca.
Does this trade guarantee the Knicks a championship? Of course not. Already there have been opponents to the trade claiming that the Knicks gave up too much to Denver and that Melo and Stoudemire can’t co-exist within the offense. Oh you sad, doubting motherfuckers and Dallas Mavericks fans. The Knicks are better as a team and a franchise after making this trade point-blank, period. But since there are those who can’t let me have one day to enjoy trading for a 26 year-old forward who’s one of the top 5 scorers in the league let me talk some sense into you. Read more…