“A little bit of it is, we’re pressing,’’ D’Antoni said. “We’re thinking we have to be that great team right now and we’re not. We’re a little bit tight. We’ve got to loosen up. We’ve got to get the spacing better, get rotations better. We want it too bad. We’ve got to calm down and relax.’’
The Knicks’ 1-2 start is disappointing but not completely surprising, considering the lockout-shortened camp. The team is trying to adapt to a lot of new pieces, including chemistry issues between Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire.
Jeff Van Gundy’s Knicks, trying to blend in Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby during the 1999 lockout, had a subpar regular season and finished as the eighth seed before their Finals march.
The new league buzz is the Knicks won’t be very good until playmaking point guard Baron Davis returns and that appears — depending on whom you talk to — to be late January at the earliest.
“We’ve got to win games in the meantime,’’ D’Antoni said. “And we can do that.’’
D’Antoni said the team hadn’t adapted to his ball-movement concepts before the season opener against the Celtics. But they escaped 106-104, as Stoudemire and Anthony starred.
The Boston win was “a little bit of fool’s gold,’’ according to D’Antoni. “That was individual talent,’’ he said.
Stoudemire needs more room to operate, and he needs to be smarter.
“We definitely need spacing for him,’’ D’Antoni said. “If he only becomes a jump shooter or is driving into a crowd, that’s not good. We’ve done that. We’ve got to lessen the crowd up and he’ trying too hard to take it on himself instead of relaxing. If he’s in a crowd, start kicking.’’
One concern is Stoudemire is not being used in the pick-and-roll any longer, with Anthony and center Tyson Chandler running it.
“What he does best is the pick-and-roll,’’ D’Antoni said of Stoudemire. “We have to find out how to get him ball the ball, spaced out. He has space, he’s really good.’’