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    TYPE-A Red's Avatar
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    Media Even D'antoni says WE ARE RIGHT!

    Before the game, D’Antoni was asked about his job performance in light of the fan outrage.

    “They’re right,’’ D’Antoni said of fans calling for his head. “Every coach understands you can’t come out and play bad and then say, ‘Oh, I’m doing my job.’ I got to change things up and get better. It’s my responsibility at the end of it.’’

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    This thread is meant to clarify any misnomers regarding the coach of the New York Knicks Mike D'antoni.

    This subject has been debated for over three years now, and it can all be summed up in the following:

    Those that believe in his philosophy, abilities, and results


    Those that don't

    The motivation behind the myriad of arguments presented, is based on the accomplishments of the New York Knicks over the last three years, and takes into account Mike D'antoni's entire body of work.

    We've heard arguments for and against Mike such as: he needs time, there's roster turnover, the Knicks are incomplete, they need this type of player, that type of player, time to gel, etc...

    Really, I probably could not fill an entire page with the analysis provided for and against D'antoni; his style is polarizing to say the least. I and many others have even broken down the unintended consequences of using Mike's approach. And to some, that wasn't enough. These people were labeled as excuse makers.

    To be honest both sides have valid points, and that's coming from one who does not support D'antoni. An example was our record and playoff appearance last year. We went 42-40 and made the playoffs for the first time in years. What more could you ask for?

    Everyone has the answers. They know why we look so poor. It's Melo who lied to us about his abilities, Jeffries who should be a starter, STAT and Melo can't coexist, give it time, etc... well I have the answers.

    We look so poor because of the following:

    Everyone recognizes there are differences and similarities between organized ball and "street ball" or "freelancing". The same is true in any sport. In organized ball there are refs for instance, a bench and depth chart, more rules and regulations. This is obvious. But similarly you shoot with proper technique on the playground and while on a team. The rules, environment, and even the nuances may change, but the fundamentals and techniques remain the same. In baseball, you take your stance, stride, rotate your hips, release the bat through the zone, and follow through to hit a ball, whether playing stick ball or organized.

    Every sport has techniques. After years of studying in real situations both in controlled and uncontrolled environments, there are proper mechanics in almost every sport move we know. Proper ways to drop back and throw a football, ways to tackle, shoot jumpers, everything to sliding. There are also unwritten rules to the games and sportsmanship we interweave in our sports, like not throwing at a persons head. But note, some techniques leave room for variety and adaptation.

    Take shooting a basketball for instance. There are many ways to shoot a basketball, and there are things experts feel to look for to determine effectiveness. The lift, off-hand, release, rotation, and arch of the shot are a few key factors to pay attention to, even grip on a ball. Remember though, there are many ways to shoot a basketball or throw a football ,but even with the variety available, the key indicators remain the same.

    A pitcher in baseball could throw righty or lefty, side arm or three-quarters, hold the seams this way or that way, but the indicators of his probable success will remain to be: speed, control, effectiveness, movement, no matter his technique or style. When it comes to Mike D'antoni what we have seen is flawed and this is how it affects everyone.

    In sports, we have so many metrics that we can make simple determinations just based on numbers. Like no football team has won the Superbowl and been last in team defense. In basketball we know the effects of high percentage shots. We know the detrimental effects of turnovers.

    To an earlier point, we know there are players who perform well in unorganized sports but not at a pro level. We are always looking for those who can translate their talent from just playing basketball outside to being able to do the same on a team in an organized fashion. But those who have good mechanics and fundamentals stand a better chance of being successful. It's funny, but even though we want guys to play organized ball, we love those who can "play like they're on the playground". That goes for all sports. I guess we predispose the minimal pressure and fun, and doing it "for the love if the game" when it comes to the playground. No pressure, no money or motives, just love.

    In the NBA and many sports there's the lifers and those who just picked up the sport at an older age. It's all about the learning curve and natural ability. All those things come into play when we see the product, and what he/she can do. How fast have they learned their technique and honed their skills? A coach like D'antoni is thought to need players with specific skills. A passing pg who can hit the three, many three ball shooters, and a pick-and-roll player are examples. He uses his success in PHX as a blueprint needed to be followed.

    We also know that his system stresses the pick&roll, ball movement and perimeter play primarily, and this appears fundamentally sound, and could be with the right decision makers (and luck of course). We know any successful system must incorporate using the biggest players on the floor (PF, C) and must be predicated on obtaining the highest percentage shots as much as possible. Obviously, higher percentage shots equate to higher more efficient scoring, which translates to higher probability of victory. But another caveat not really mentioned is Mike D'antoni's desire for players who can just play, as I said earlier, "like they're on the playground". Free flowing not restrictive; easy and relaxed, not complicated. Basically keep the ball moving, make the pass, take the shot if it's open... easy. Mike seems to believe that in tough situations players can revert to playing like they always have. I'm not sure if he realizes that players need structure and a system to fall back on that overcomes the deficiencies of their natural playground talents, not the other way around. Again, almost opposite from what's taught, and there is a blatant neglect in defense both because of this approach (similar to the offense in just playing, no real concrete strategy, and no mistakes corrected), and because of neglecting arguably the most important side of the ball.

    That sounds simple enough right? Yes there is a system, the spread pick-&-roll, but he asks players to be easy, read the defense and do exactly what they did outside on the courts, or in their driveways. That's the mentality he want's players to have, that's the selling point for his tutelage. This is said to be attractive to many players because Mike "just let's them play", although there are some right for his system, and some not. Some feel this is why Steve Nash should be credited with Mike's success because he took the system and perfected it by having good decision abilities, passing skills, an outside shot, and an ability to ad lib. The counter argument is that there are a few pg's who "Mike has made better". The retort is that the system produced increased possessions thus skewing the stats.

    Back to my point. Mike is looking for guys who can play with good technique and natural ability. He's not going to take a raw talent and mold him into a beast. Counter argument to this is look at Nash and Amare. But did he teach them or did the system allow their natural talents to shine, that's debatable. And it's not the same; Nash and Amare would be good in mostly any system.

    Anyway I hear people saying we don't have the talent. To this I vehemently disagree. The issue is Mike want's players to play like they're on the playground, but these professionals have been taught their entire basketball careers to not do that. Don't just come up and shoot, get players involved. Don't settle for jumpers, go to the hole. Don't leave your man, stay on him.

    Everything that these players have been taught, practicing, and believe, is different and basically opposite to what Mike is telling them. What we are seeing, what we've been seen since last year when we got real professional veterans like Billups and Melo, are players who have honed their craft doing things as fundamentally sound as they can; with a belief system dictated by years of observations. Again things like high percentage shots, not settling for jumpers, boxing out and crashing the boards are not what Mike D'anotni stresses nor what his system is predicated on. Those with great technique in their jumper can thrive on that alone in Mike's system, but they were not taught to approach the game further away from the basket. Really some do have the mentality that can handle being asked to shoot as a primary approach, defense is secondary, with no problem. Just use my jumper. That leads to false positives where players want something because they see the benefits without the negative effects.

    These vets know the difference and they're betwixt and not buying in. Now last year Amare came out and mentioned the players having to buy in to the system , it works he advocated. Amare knows nothing else. Douglas knows nothing else, at least not professionally. Those that have been conditioned that this method is not fundamentally sound are having trouble, and resist as it's making them look bad. D'antoni is attempting to deprogram them and recondition them to think different.

    These player like Melo resist for many reasons. He might not be able to do what he's asked and probably doesn't believe in it. He doesn't believe nor was taught to see a player like Harrellson as a three point threat primarily. To swing the ball around the perimeter until a jumper opens up. He was taught and observed soundly that 6'10 guys like Jorts belong around the rim, doing their dirty work on the boards and such. Jorts doesn't know any better; he's a rookie thats going to do what he is asked.

    This is the crushing dilemma for D'antoni and every coach and it starts with the realization that the players are safer in their positions than a coach, especially if the stars don't buy in. D'antoni probably didn't want Melo or the trade but was here before Melo, so we can't assume Melo really endorsed D'antoni. Melo does have experience in this system from the olympics so it's safe to say he was comfortable with Mike, but how do we know he doesn't believe that this system was just good versus sub-par international competition?

    That's my analysis. I still believe this system is self defeating and has long and short term flaws. It hasn't, and doesn't work towards championships. Too many mitigating factors along with too many statistical fundamental errors and outcomes. Players know this, it's unorthodox, and against most fundamentals they were taught. The other things they were told not to do are actually being stressed here and they must know this isn't right. The only way a player would be willing to oppose this knowing full well in theory it sounds good but a poor idea and approach is if they are secure, have a solid reputation, and a real respect for the game.

    After I wrote this I thought, only Carmelo Anthony fits that description. I hope he and Dolan have a mutual respect, and that he as a leader and franchise player, has some say-so in what goes on. At the least if he can't convince Dolan to remove D'antoni, then I hope he definitely does not endorse him going forward. He who loves this game has to know that this is a recipe for disaster on so many fronts. Be a leader. Do not let the lure of street ball convince you this can win a chip. Let your supporting cast know you do not believe in nor agree with this approach, the poor results are apparent, and that you are too serious in your quest for greatness to allow this to continue. The sooner the better.
    Last edited by Red; Jan 22, 2012 at 08:40. Reason: Apologies for the long post... again.

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