Sunday, May 11, 2008

New York State of Mind

Mike D’Antoni has agreed to become the new head coach of the New York Knicks. This is bigger headscratcher than the move by Phoenix to get rid of Mr. Seven Seconds or Less.

The logical move for D’Antoni wasn’t the Bulls and definitely wasn’t the Knicks. It was the Toronto Raptors. With Bosh on the inside, guys like Bargnani, Kapono, and Anthony Parker on the perimeter, Jamario Moon playing the role of “Matrix II” and Jose Calderon at point, D’Antoni would have a field day coaching this team.

He’d probably have to trade T.J. Ford, who would be pissed coming off the bench, perhaps to the Trail Blazers for James Jones and spare parts, but that wouldn’t be a big deal.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo should’ve fired Sam Mitchell the minute D’Antoni became available and threw all sorts of money at the jettisoned Phoenix coach. The fact that he didn’t leads me to believe that maybe they had a falling out during Colangelo’s last days in the desert. Either that or he’s not as smart as we think he is.

If not Toronto then definitely Chicago. The Bulls have a team full of run-and-gun guys, but not as discipline as the players in Toronto. Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, Chris Duhon and Thabo Sefolosha can all knock down the three.

Luol Deng is a slasher D’Antoni should’ve coached in Phoenix anyway, and Tyrus Thomas, Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah are perfect bigs for D’Antoni’s system.

Larry Hughes might be serviceable, but will probably help them better hurt and on the sideline, which is probably going to happen.

Instead, D’Antoni took the money and ran to New York. Four of the Knicks highest paid players are completely useless in this system: Eddy Curry and Jerome James are too slow and lazy, Zach Randolph is too selfish and lazy, and Stephon Marbury is too selfish.

Donnie Walsh can’t buy all of these guys out, and Stephon Marbury is the only expiring contract out of this bunch.

Their only decent three-point threat is Quentin Richardson, who might have a worse back than Steve Nash. Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson are gunners who will probably not pass the ball enough to make things work in New York, but they are young enough to make you think their bad habits could be broken.

Renaldo Balkman, David Lee, Fred Jones, Mardy Collins and Jared Jeffries will all be decent in this system and David Lee should thrive. Randolph Morris and Wilson Chandler are two question marks.

The morale of this story is that D’Antoni is going from feast to famine with this group and is probably making this move because of greed.

Yes, Steve Kerr did essentially force him out. However, he still should have at least gave the bulls to counter New York’s offer.

Perhaps D’Antoni thought the Bulls and Knicks had the same level of talent, forgetting about how horrendous the Knicks big men are. Maybe he didn’t really pay much attention to either team, as the Suns swept both teams during the regular season this past year.

It was one thing for his era in Phoenix to end out without a championship but D’Antoni leaving Phoenix for New York is downright painful.

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