There’s No Defending D’Antoni DecisionPosted: May 10, 2008
So far Donnie Walsh, Knick fans are not impressed.
After denying reports for two days, Walsh has decided Mike D’Antoni is the coach best suited to bring the Knicks back to respectability. D’Antoni may have a “D” leading off his last name, but that doesn’t mean his teams practice the fine art of defense. At least that was his reputation in Phoenix, where the Suns run-and-shoot style was a regular season hit but a post-season flop. D’Antoni is regarded as an innovative offensive coach who doesn’t stress defense.
D’Antoni has a 267-172 career coaching record with the Suns and Denver Nuggets. The Suns won at least 54 games in four of his five seasons and reached the Western Conference finals twice. He has a 26-25 record in the playoffs.
“I think it is a terrible match,” said one rival head coach. “I don’t get it. At four years and $24 million, it’s a tough get.”
First, Walsh decides it’s prudent to keep Isiah Thomas around. Understand there are money and contract considerations here, but there’s also perception. The guy who set the franchise back five years, the guy who was fingered in a sexual harassment lawsuit, is still on the payroll, collecting his millions from the team he destroyed. Appearances are important.
Now he banks the future on D’Antoni. Makes you wonder.
Mark Jackson had been considered the favorite for the Knicks coaching job. The Queens native and former point guard may not have head coaching experience, but he knows the New York drill, having played for both St. John’s and the Knicks..
D’Antoni…and Walsh…are on the hot seat now. They’ll soon discover how tough it is to rebuild in New York.