If I say "Fire D'Antoni", what's your immediate reaction?
Yeah I get it, as well I assume your most likely a "not this again" thinker and an optimist. Check.* It's not his fault?
* How can you "blame" coach, we had key players injured?
* For who? There's no one out there?
* He didn't have a stable roster?
* He got them to play hard in games 1 & 2?
* No one expected us to even be here?
* Not this again?
Is there a difference between Mike D'Antoni is "to blame" -vs- we have a plan, and Mike D'Antoni doesn't fit that idea? (And yes making the playoffs is a partial result of that plan, which acknowledged we just did).
See any difference?
IF we had/have a PLAN, and that plan CAN ONLY BEGIN WITH A CERTAIN TYPE OF COACH, then it's safe to say; It Makes Absolutely No Sense To Target Any Specific Player BEFORE We Get A Coach In The Mold Of Our Plan!
Here are my reasons why NOW is the time to get a new coach and move forward:
1. We DEMAND defense!
I said before that New York is a defensive city. The East is a defensive conference and as Musketeer pointed out, it's NEEDED to compete. Offense will N-E-V-E-R be prioritized over defense if you plan on competing at a higher level. Mike D'Antoni is not a savvy defensive coach, and the issue of defensive personnel is exacerbated by targeting players to fit into his system. It's that simple. If we stay with him then obviously our plan isn't to get to a higher level.
2. Our Window of Opportunity is closing.
You know why I hate that "wait til' next year" approach? Because too many mitigating factors are involved when waiting that long. You can have the greatest projected team going forward, top draft choices, cap room out the ass; and still something such as key injuries can happen. A missed call, anything; ANY GIVEN SUNDAY!
When you get there, don't act like you'll always be there, take advantage of the opportunity now! Our core of Stat and Melo have limited time and even less considering the multitude of issues that can arise including a strike(lock out)-shortened season.
3. The Mistakes!
From shaky player relations to rotation gaffes, to in-game decisions, everything is based on approach. Ask yourself; how many decisions a head coach has to make throughout a season? Obviously Mike D'Antoni has enough experience to not have every decision questioned. You have things like practice times and off-season/off-day scheduling, to in-game decisions like playing time and play calling, so many decisions to be made, not all exclusively by the head coach.
Now I ask you, can you recall a championship caliber basketball (or any) coach where SO MANY decisions WERE QUESTIONED? We knowledgeable fans have cliches such as "coaching 101", "thats fundamentals", "the basics" etc... and granted EVERY coach can be scrutinized at some point for his/her decisions but...
when have you ever questioned so many decisions by a coach? The answer regardless of actual number is ONLY WHEN THEY TOOK A DIFFERENT APPROACH THAN WHAT CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SUGGESTS. From DNP-CD's, to going for it on fourth down (in football), to leaving a pitcher in (in baseball)- a coach will ALWAYS be open for criticism. Their moves and decisions, and their motives will not always be agreed upon.
But the REASON behind and the AMOUNT of questions has to be indicative of something, and at the least it indicates "I DONT AGREE WITH THE DECISION".
A great consolation to having Mike D'Antoni for the last three seasons is we have seen him up close, and in playoff situations. An excuse, an answer, a rebuttal can be formed for every disagreeable decision. An argument can be made that IF a team can perform a D'Antoni offense AND lock down on defense, they can look unstoppable. Another argument can be made that thats the case with almost ANY offense, the constant being lock down defense. How about this...
The lack of quality clock management, the lack of consistent effort, the over-use injuries, practice schedule, the DNP's, the rotation, the play-calling, on and on and on...
THE MOST POIGNANT AND COMPELLING REASONS TO MOVE FORWARD IS TO REMOVE AND REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF DISAGREEABLE/ARGUABLE DECISIONS. TO GET A COACH WHO DOES NOT CREATE CONTROVERSY WITH QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS, SO WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE.
I know this is really what I and a select few want, and keep repeating. I can assume some other decisions are questionable to you too. But how many of the questions will we manufacture before we come to a conclusion that the sheer amount of questionable decisions is a RED FLAG?
Ad nauseum we have discussed and argued, who's fault was it, why did coach DNP Randolph, or not play him, or do this, or didn't do that...
AREN'T YOU SICK OF THIS? Wouldn't you prefer a coach where those controversial decisions are minimum? Where you're on the same page?
Well lets get on the same page and take advantage of this opportunity that Donnie Walsh has provided. We are doomed to repeat this if we don't change, and I know we can all agree these results are not satisfying going forward.
The fight was there although arguably due to the ego's of players and inconsistent at best. The grit was there at times also, some moves were spot on. Yeah we beat some good teams throughout the season. But as I like to say; sometimes it's not about win or lose as much as it's about how you win or lose.
If you are one of these fans...
We made the playoffs! We did good! Why change? We are right there... give D'Antoni another full year with this roster.
To REDUCE the controversial decisions; to make it to a higher level; to maximize our assets; to feel confident; to reduce risk; not go through this again.
I do not pretend to know exactly who the better coach is. I do not blame Mike D'Antoni for every wrong thing with this squad. I have absolutely no confidence that he can bring us where I would like to be and that has nothing to do with over-expectations.
Really I analyzed the roster, I see positions of need, attitudinal adjustments that are MOST affected by the approach. Instead of hoping that D'Antoni can continually alter his approach, I'd say it's time to cut our loses and move on. I feel the organization is loyal and sometimes lackadaisical, and he will finish out his contract, but if we get that chance to bring in someone who will have us playing hard-nosed defense first, designs an offense that utilizes our talents and changes the culture from trying to win to winners, then we need to strike.
If you are saying we won't know who that coach is until we see him under fire in the playoffs... I say we know who that coach isn't. And also THIS is where detractors we're coming from when we had issues with certain decisions; this is the vision WE DIDN'T WANT TO SEE! Do you understand SUPPORTER? It's not about not good enough, it's a matter of having a vision, using logic, inference, insight, instincts, and forward thinking.
YOU would LOVE a coach who we couldn't question his methods, approach, and decision making, especially during this opportune time...