Honesty, I can’t figure out why so many Knicks fans hate D’Antoni other than they may be wildly overrating our current personnel and not understanding that we still have some holes in the team (along with injuries) that are not his fault.
IMHO, the only legitimate question mark is whether the current personnel matches the coach.
D’Antoni made his reputation maximizing offensive efficiency by running and shooting early in the shock clock before defenses were ready (statistically demonstrated to be a good idea), creating mismatches on offense, and running the P&R with a big man surrounded by all very good outside shooters to create space.
1. I love Tyson Chandler, but he doesn’t really play into that system because he clogs the middle and makes it tougher for Amare to work inside.
2. Amare’s value comes from finishing at the rim. In the D’Antoni system he’s more of a C that can take advantage of bigger slower legit Cs and blow past them. Playing C, he needs a very good defensive and rebounding PF next to him (like Matrix). As a PF, he is covered by quicker PFs that he has a tougher time blowing past. They are also more willing to come outside to defend him. He turns into more of a jump shooter where he’s only an average offensive weapon.
3. Melo is more of a ball stopper and ISO player than passer and runner. He has good passing skills, but he’s a little careless. Running the offense through him is going to cause more TOs because of the carelessness, but either way, a ball stopper is not ideal for D’Antoni.
Each of these guys has important skills, but they don’t exactly mesh together well or fit into D’Antoni’s traditional offense. That goes double when you also don’t have a high level PG running the break, making plays, and having some expertise in the P&R.
To be honest, I think D’Antoni was against the Melo trade (at least off the record) because he saw some of these issues right from the start. The combination of Melo and Amare then forced the need for Chandler for defensive purposes. That further disrupted what he was trying to build before that trade.
The challenge for D’Antoni is going to be to adjust his system, but to also get these players to focus on the things they are good at. We don’t want Amare shooting jumpers and we don’t want Amare and Melo getting 9 TOs a night between them because of the way they are playing.
If he can’t figure it out after 15-20 games when the team is healthy, then there might be a reason to suspect he’s a good coach, but not a good coach for these players. But until then, I still think this team is going to win 38-40 games.