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Thread: Ben Detrick In Defense of Mike D'Antoni and Toney Douglas

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    Veteran KBlack25's Avatar
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    Default Ben Detrick In Defense of Mike D'Antoni and Toney Douglas

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    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.
    Just bolded some interesting stuff...

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    "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."

    This is why i believe D'Antoni should be fired. We no longer have a team that fits what he knows how to coach.

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    Let's use an analogy (another sport but it makes sense).

    It's like Putting a QB who can air it out in a West Coast Offense because your coach only knows how to teach the WCO. You are severely limiting the abilities of your QB. At that point you either Trade the QB or get a New Coach. Because the salary cap rules are ridiculous in the NBA it's harder to move the players...hence...Fire D'Antoni.

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    Veteran KBlack25's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by clumsy
    "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."

    This is why i believe D'Antoni should be fired. We no longer have a team that fits what he knows how to coach.
    This I can get behind...

    I defended MDA, but right now I don't think we have a roster that syncs up with MDA's strengths as a coach - and we aren't building one.

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    Kind of a subjective article.

    Yea, people expecting the Knicks to run thru the NBA at season's start was ridiculous, but it's also ridiculous to ignore bad coaching...like when your team is 1 for 10 from behind the arch in the first quarter, and that very same team goes on to shoot another 25 threes and only make 9 of them.

    That's bad offense, lack of common sense, and bad coaching, but it's up to the coach...to coach. The players deserve some blame as well, I actually put the "lulls" of that last Bobcat game on the players not executing, as opposed to MDA's futility.

    But when you watch Melo Iso 9 straight times in a game, and it's not working...we need plan B.

    Twice in the last week or so I've watched star players, #1 options, used as decoys in late game/game winning situations. Rose's baseline screen to free up Deng for the game winning lob from Noah last week, and last night Monta was used in a similar fashion, except the ball made it's way back to him, and he got the shot he wanted late in the game.

    Whether or not Toney messed up that play last week where Melo missed the 3, is irrelevant; the fact of the matter is Melo stated that he asked MDA, do you want a 2 or a 3? Whereas both Rose and Monta's plays dictated exactly what shot was to be taken by a teammate, or themselves should the ball find them. Contingencies. As great a closer as Melo is, there still should have been a more traditional play called, one where the shot the team gets is directly dictated by the play being run, not one where a player has options. Coaches are paid to make those decisions.

    But that's just one isolated situation.

    What about something as basic as MDA's use of timeouts? I remember sitting in MSG on Christmas, yelling CALL A FREAKING TIME OUT!!!!! (there was a little girl in the row in front of me, I censored myself) as the score went from a 52-62 Knicks lead at the beginning of the 3rd, to a 69-69 tie 5 mins later, before MDA used one of the 3 full timeouts he had in his pocket? A 17-7 run before you stop the game and recalibrate? If it wasn't for Melo Isoing like crazy in the 4th and putting the 5 boroughs on his back, Boston wins that game.

    So articles like this are cool when you wanna pick out the irrational folks who think the team should be 9-0 instead of 5-4. You can also assert the question "how the **** do you know?!??!" when someone says MDA will never win a ring with his style.

    But there are some very fundamental things missing from MDA's repertoire. How do you coach....anything...without the basic strategy and tactics?

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    Superstar nuckles2k2's Avatar
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    Listen to what Iman says his instructions are from the coaching staff, now while the "If Melo wants the ball for isolation....Melo gets the ball for isolation" might be kind of tongue in cheek...cause I mean....Melo is one of the most prolific scorers the game has seen...but ****....whenever they want the ball they get it?? And if they miss you have to get back and play D?

    What about when Melo is 2/14 and STAT is 3/15? Why in the blue heavens are they still isolating? While I think Iman was being kind of coy....the numbers, our eyes, and our active braincells tend to say "dude ain't lying, they have free reign out there."

    Even Phil used his Jedi mind tricks (w/ some manipulation thru teammates and media) to send Mike and Kobe the message "you're shooting to ****ing much." Gregg Popovich gets right in your face whether your name is Tim Duncan or Ike Diogu.

    STAT & Melo....just keep shooting, and occasionally Melo looks frustrated and pissed....then they keep shooting. If it goes in...we win. If it doesn't, we lose. Then at the end of the game MDA either says "w-w-w-weee just ahh....hit shots" or "mmmmmmmmmm shots jus didin....ahhhhhh, our shots just weren't falling..." There has to be more to it than that....we know the shots either went, or didn't go.....WHY is the key.

    We'll see how it plays out going forward when we face stiff competition that knows how to close games out (starting tonight.)

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    Thumbs down

    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.
    Last edited by Red; Jan 11, 2012 at 14:11.

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    Already posted by iSaYughh

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    Originally Posted by KBlack25
    This I can get behind...

    I defended MDA, but right now I don't think we have a roster that syncs up with MDA's strengths as a coach - and we aren't building one.

    we are building a roster that will win in the playoffs .. not a rucker and 1 tour that looks good in the season and gets abused in the playoffs...if o'antoni cant adjust.. which he cant.. then he needs to go..

    we ca not define o'antoni success based on what was accomplished with one of the best point gusrds of all time in NASH...

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    Damn, I just responded to this article in another thread.

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    You know why I hate Grantland? Besides of course them being a bunch of boston teams Di*k lickers? because they refuse to put a comment section on their site, so they can write all the BS they like and never fear an opposing view making their long articles look like nonsense.



    ^^^^^ Also Bill Simmons sounds like this guy in Real Life

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