If Mike D’Antoni Gets Fired…
… it’s for leaving Jared Jeffries on the floor in the final offensive play in Game 2 against the Celtics. I like D’Antoni as a coach. I think in general it would be a mistake for the Knicks to let such a good coach go. Mainly because the average NBA coach isn’t as good as Mike and there’s always the risk of blowing an entire season (or more) with an unknown. Hiring an NBA coach is like playing Russian Roulette, but with 4 of the 6 chambers filled with bullets. Let’s face it there aren’t many guys a franchise can put on the sidelines and have confidence that the guy in the suit isn’t going to blow it.
But I can’t defend having Jared Jeffries on the floor for the last possession. Not when the Knicks are down a point and need to score. Yes he was 5-6 with four offensive rebounds. However the larger body of Jeffries work (aka his entire NBA career) suggests that type of production is an outlier. Heck it’s a career game for the 6-11 charge-master. You don’t have to go far to find Jeffries’ offensive impotence. He was flat out awful in Game 1. The missed layups and the dropped passes came in the paint with nary a defender in sight. That he seemed to magically transform into Mr. Jeffrightened for 25 minutes didn’t mean that Dr. Jeffryl wasn’t around the corner.
I understand that the number of options was reduced due to injury. But Shawne Williams was the only rational choice at center. It doesn’t even make sense to say New York was worried about playing defense after making the basket. The Knicks have to score to have that problem (and Boston would likely call a time out anyway).
D’Antoni is not a perfect coach. He probably stuck with Jeffries because he doesn’t like to go with cold players off the bench. Or maybe it was a reward for Jeffries’ score on the play before. The wise money is to take what you’ve gotten from a hot Jeffries and walk away from the table. But the Knicks coach doesn’t see thing from that perspective. Should D’Antoni get fired for this? No. I truly hope he’s on the Knicks sideline next year. But if the press and fans can’t let this go, then it’ll be the final nail in the coffin for D’Antoni. That’s because there is no reason Jared Jeffries is on the floor for that final possession.