this guy can suck it with his asinine assumptions.
Courtesy of Grantland, about MDA, but more so just about the Knicks; while touching a nerve similar to the one Billy Beane and Bill James struck in the world of baseball (prior to their madness being proved to be the method).
Poor Toney Douglas. In the middle of last season, the Knicks were looking to acquire a backup point guard to ensure the diminutive reserve wouldn’t ever have any distribution duties. Six months later, he was asked to orchestrate the offense for a team with championship aspirations. To the surprise of far too many people, Douglas has failed spectacularly in a role he has repeatedly proven unfit to hold. Shocking.
Through Monday night, Douglas’ field goal percentage was a paltry 32 percent and trending downward (he’s scored one solitary bucket in the last three games combined). Beyond those ugly numbers, he has appeared uninterested in penetrating the lane, running pick-and-rolls or finding exploitable mismatches. The crowd in the Garden turned on Douglas last week, seething at his sorry showings and chanting for Iman Shumpert, the exuberant rookie from Georgia Tech. Even now, after being relegated to the bench, Douglas’ appearance at the scorer’s table draws jeers and groans. Not fair. You can’t ask a butcher to perform optical surgery and then get cranky when he sinks a meat cleaver into your retina.
The sad fate of Douglas is but one of the plot lines in the ongoing “What’s wrong with the Knicks?” saga. Before reeling off three consecutive wins against a collection of stinking bottom-feeders, the Knicks were a disappointing 2-4. It wasn’t just the lousy record that enraged the team’s faithful — it was the sluggish manner in which they accepted defeat. In an eight-point loss to the Bobcats on Jan. 4, Boris “Blob City” Diaw racked up 27 points while making 12 of 15 field goal attempts. “I always try to adapt to whatever the defense is giving me,” the crème-filled Frenchman said after the game. “Against this kind of team, yeah, I like these kind of games.”
There has been a long-running undercurrent of hatred for Mike D’Antoni among Knicks fans, and the team’s slovenly effort against the Bobcats raised the volume of their complaints to a new roar. Calls for his dismissal were muttered from countless bar stools across the city and bellowed across social media channels. “YO WTF KNICKS??? YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS RIGHT NOW. FIRE D'ANTONI,” screeched chef Eddie Huang on Twitter. (An aside: Despite Huang’s loud and wrong opinion, his restaurant on the Lower East Side makes a delicious pork belly bao.)
As everyone with ears knows, New York basketball devotees are outspoken in their belief that winning basketball involves brutish slugfests where body parts go arcing into the frothing Madison Square Garden crowd. The freewheeling orthodoxy embraced by D’Antoni, a man whose résumé includes Socialist Euro-Ball and success in the pansy-ass Western Conference, has always been regarded by Knicks fans as a poor fit for the city. Arugula on pizza tastes OK, but that’s not how we do it in New York, son.
After an offseason where the Knicks plucked Tyson Chandler away from the champion Mavericks, expectations crested to heights unseen in more than a decade. Now the team had two scoring machines, a defensive bulwark, and, well, some other guys we assumed would figure things out later. Even D’Antoni casually floated the idea of winning a title, saying they were “obviously” a contender during an ESPN radio interview.
Maybe Knicks fans would be able to temper their expectations if there were a historical example of a team strung together from three stars and a sinewy clump of table scraps that would barely burden the back of a knife.
Let’s travel back through the mildewed and cobwebbed epochs all the way to last season’s Miami Heat. Even with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — both superior to any of the Knicks’ studs — a more respectable collection of role players and training camp, the Heat had their share of missteps before making their playoff push to the Finals. The notion that the Knicks would start the season clicking with the calibration of Swiss timepieces was, in retrospect, ridiculous.
In baseball, a third baseman swinging a scorching bat can lift a club to World Series glory. In football, the timely squirt of a fumble might propel a wild card team to the Super Bowl. But professional basketball bows to the tyranny of talent. Franchises with the best players almost always win. Last year’s Mavericks team was considered an upstart, but had a high payroll, the finest power forward on the planet and an army of excellent role players. The Pistons, who upset the Lakers in 2004, sent four of their five starters to the All-Star game two years later. Otherwise, most recent ring-wearers were the predictable ones: the Lakers, the Celtics, the Spurs.
The Knicks have a grand trio, but its roster is even more lopsided than Miami’s was. Healthy members of the backcourt are either inexperienced, untalented, or both. Landry Fields has dutifully sunken back into second-round pick-hood, as if ashamed for making other teams’ general managers look silly last season. Douglas has problems. Shumpert is exciting but green. The team lacks perimeter shooters and is so thin on the bench that second-round draft pick Josh “Big Jorts” Harrellson is playing 20 minutes a game. It is a deeply flawed team.
The cold reality is that the Knicks will spend most of the season engaging in dogfights with third-tier foes like the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors. There will be humiliating losses where Diaw oozes through their defense like a pat of butter through his morning croissant. There will some nights when Rasual Butler ropes in five times his career average in rebounds. Get used to unseemly entanglements with teams who feature players you wouldn’t recognize if they were standing on the R Train platform. Yup, Lou Williams is going to eat your face tonight.
If you find the Knicks’ fate as an embattled 6-seed unappealing, I suggest you crouch in prayer to whatever winged, tentacled, or elephant-headed deities control the creaky latticework of Baron Davis’ spine. He’s the bulgy-disced dude who offers potential salvation. If Davis can provide 30 minutes of reasonably effective point guard play, it would shift the entire backcourt into alignment. Shumpert could play his natural shooting guard position, Douglas could return to his role as a shot-chucking scorer off the bench, and Fields could go back to being an energetic overachiever instead of a mopey disappointment. Of course, all of this is reliant on Davis, a gimpy veteran who has missed 20 percent of his career games to one ailment or another.
Despite this outrageously janky roster, Knicks fans blame D’Antoni for the season’s disappointing start. Never mind that the team has continuously traded away every player whose skill set synced with the coach’s ideology. Ignore that he’s being asked to win with the worst backcourt and bench in the NBA. Disregard that running a “seven seconds or less” offense without a point guard or outside shooters is impossible. Forget that the team’s porous defense is now ostensibly the fault of new assistant coach Mike Woodson.
Those wailing for D’Antoni’s removal are generally the same basketball philosophers who sagely regurgitate “truisms” about how his roadrunner teams are only constructed for regular-season success. In the playoffs, this tiresome line of thinking goes, an increased emphasis on defense and half-court efficiency turns the hardwood into a mire of quicksand for speedy, high-scoring offenses. Such a hearty embrace of inchworm work ethic would be suitable for communist propaganda posters. Ride the Slow Barge to Victory! Slog-4-Lyfe! Grunt on, Wee Bolshevik Tortoises!
The main argument put forth by many Knicks fans is that D’Antoni will never win a championship simply because he hasn’t done it yet. During only four full seasons in Phoenix, the Suns went to the playoffs each time and reached the Western Conference Finals twice. Yet somehow, his remarkable success is deemed evidence of inevitable future failure. ****, by this inductive fallacy, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant will never take home titles either. And isn’t it a bit rich for Knicks fans to be thundering about titles when the team hasn’t visited the land of milk and honey since the 1970s?
But the tastiest irony is that those beloved blue-collar New York teams of the '90s — play a few YouTube clips of Charles Oakley and Xavier McDaniel earth-slamming opposing guards if you want to see a Knicks fan grow weepy — never won jack. Even better, Pat Riley, their defensive-minded coach, took titles with Lakers squads that were among the NBA’s highest-scoring teams. And best yet, the Knicks were trounced in the 1999 Finals by the same Tim Duncan-led Spurs that later defeated D’Antoni’s Suns. Where is your Van Gundy God now?
Gripe all you want, fellas, just have some consistency.
this article is full of sound, comprehensive nba wisdom n analysis of our team. it touches on everything i brought up in Red's recent thread and I'm no so-called expert, i just know the game of basketball.
you have to look wholistically at what this team is doing, not just at the coach n bitch unreasonably. you CAN do that n still be objective about this mda.
i really agree n have said before that just because no one has won playing mda's way yet, that doesnt mean it can't happen. it's about the PLAYERS. always has been n always will be in The League. if we have a dominant enough collection of talent on the floor n they execute this system well enough WE CAN WIN IT. period. you have to know the history, be able to evaluate players n evaluate how they're playing accurately in games to have vision.
that said, we're close. if b davis comes back n can run this O like i think he should be able to, we should be able to make a strong push. i feel very gd about us against anyone w a 5 of:
if they can flow at a high level in mda's system i really cant see what's f-ing w us.
The MIA comparison -- which I've brought up before -- can't be overstated. It's still very much understated, even in this article, because it forgets all about the Point Guard.
The most key position for teams with incomplete....new....or superstar-laden rosters...
Which MIA had filled because one of their big guns can average 8 assists a game, lol.....Not to mention Wade, a true playmaker who also dishes for 5 a game.
We just have a very frustrating team, and we'll win but win ugly until we Baron or a real starting NBA point guard on the team.
We need a PG who can create the motion and tempo necessary to run those bread and butter plays with Amare that are almost unstoppable; and at the same time, wisely facilitate *for* Melo so Melo can do his thing, and not stand around stiff taking up precious floor space while Amare moves around awkwardly.
A legitimate point guard should be able to create an offensive duality that I think is what everyone is craving. A PG who can run those bread and butter Amare plays at a moment's notice, and also be there to distribute *to* Melo, and not force Melo to make critical playmaking and distribution decisions.
Amare's jumper will then be lethal as it won't be some primary option, but a weapon to keep teams honest and make those Melo plays all the more lethal.
Amare and Melo are **** playing together unless you have an offense run by a PG who can handle the duality of their skills, and be smart enough to run a two-pronged offensive machine.
*I don't think we need 2006 Steve Nash, either; I'm sure 2010 Raymond Felton would be more than adequate. Just like last year, we didn't necessarily need some vintage Shaq to man our center spot to get legit, but a Spencer Hawes.
Here are my replies to some of the comment in the article.
By this he simply means guys who can camp on the 3pt line and make 3s. I'd hardly call that syncing with an ideology. Antoni has always had outside shooters here. They weren't top tier but good. It makes a coach look bad when they don't have the PG for a system, so they just throw up their arms in confusion (this is how the writer is describing Antoni). A good coach will maximize what he has. See the HOU team that won something like 15 straight games after losing T-Mac AND Yao.Despite this outrageously janky roster, Knicks fans blame D’Antoni for the season’s disappointing start. Never mind that the team has continuously traded away every player whose skill set synced with the coach’s ideology. Ignore that he’s being asked to win with the worst backcourt and bench in the NBA. Disregard that running a “seven seconds or less” offense without a point guard or outside shooters is impossible.
Everyone knows Nash was the mastermind behind that success. Just to be clear, im saying that NASH WAS THE COACH. Dantoni got his (syncing)shooters and Nash found a way to maximize their strengths. See the Nets team that went to the finals twice after signing Kidd. If you're lucky enough to have a highly skilled pg then fine, but not every team has one and they still find ways to be competitive with the guys they have by running smart playsThe main argument put forth by many Knicks fans is that D’Antoni will never win a championship simply because he hasn’t done it yet. During only four full seasons in Phoenix, the Suns went to the playoffs each time and reached the Western Conference Finals twice. Yet somehow, his remarkable success is deemed evidence of inevitable future failure.
Just for example: We all know one thing Balkman can do is finish strong at the rim. So why not create 1 or 2 plays for him where he catches the ball off a baseline cut or screen and allow him to do his thing? It may or may not work depending on the defense but I'm betting it will since he doesn't get alot of attention on defense. This is something I expect from a clever thinking coach. This could have also been done for the high flying Walker but Antoni chooses to focus only on his outside shooting.
Yes but the team was ALWAYS competitive and if it weren't for the greatest player in history, we may have won a chip.But the tastiest irony is that those beloved blue-collar New York teams of the '90s — play a few YouTube clips of Charles Oakley and Xavier McDaniel earth-slamming opposing guards if you want to see a Knicks fan grow weepy — never won jack.
You mean like the constant begging for better defense and an overall defensive philosophy? You mean that consistency?Gripe all you want, fellas, just have some consistency.
Great reply nyk_nyk!
You know people don't know what they are talking about when it takes umpteen paragraphs to explain something so simple. In the beginning while analyzing yes, but after years?
Still can't figure it out? That's a shame.
I love how the writer makes expecting fans overzelous with regards to 6'0 Toney Douglas. Toney Douglas who was ACC dpoy running THE POINT!
But all of a sudden, 6'0 Toney Douglas is supposed to be a reliable scorer off the bench? Really?
So who pigeon holed TD into that role? I think it was the coach with Euro tendencies...
Yep, I'm quite sure someone tried to sell me (and TD for that matter) on him NOT being a PG but a shooter!
And now that relatively speaking (meaning with better players its apparent TD can't cut it) TD is showing he should have been groomed for years at his natural position, instead of admitting 'Antoni was wrong and his "style" lead to that egregious mistake making TD (a former PG with defense) useless!
See what happens when you take those MOA goggles off?
You stop fooling yourself and understand if it wasn't for this coach and his "unorthodox" style, maybe by now TD would have better developed his PG skills.
Or we could continue making excuses for things that no other coach does except 'Antoni, writing long winded diatribes about why we need to lay off the 6'0 college defending PG
WHO ALL OF A SUDDEN AT HIS COACHES BEHEST TRIED TO BECOME DAVID WEASLY... a decision that even the novice fan should know was wrong to begin with!
Looks like Stockholm Snydrome has affected writers too.
I guess it was the fans that implemented the strategy of forcing a career 6'0 defensive minded PG to become a constant shooter...smh!
Or maybe it was the fans that demanded a stretch 4 playing on the perimeter while trying to guard CENTERS!
No, no, better yet...
It was the fans who demanded our defensive SF (W. Chandler) play every position except his natural one... yeah that's it...
It was us who were wrong when 'Antoni decided to DNP Marbury (a PG he claims he needs) because of his personal vendeta.
What were we thinking?
Listen adults... you CANNOT LEAD WITHOUT BEING ACCOUNTABLE!
The REASON why Toney Failed is because he's being asked to do what he shouldn't be doing. Matter of fact he was applauded for doing what he wasn't supposed to be doing...
and now that he has failed at doing what he wasn't supposed to be doing, all of a sudden mad crazy ludicrous explainations are needed except simply looking at the person who was clapping their hands.
Ego should never trump accountability, not if you want to be a successful leader.
You want to impress me (us), show us where 'Antoni said HE WAS WRONG. Then again only a select few are able to do that.
Last edited by Red; Jan 11, 2012 at 14:34.