The fishwrap is reporting that D’Antoni went on an “unsolicited diatribe” about defense prior to last night’s 110-104 win over Philly. The new coach is, perhaps understandably, a bit bristly over his Marbury-like reputation for defensive indifference. His Suns teams were more average than bad defensively, and at least some of the criticism levied at those teams came because more than a few commentators–ex-players among them–don’t know enough to adjust for pace.
Still, I’d be a bit surprised to see the Knicks end the season above the median in defensive efficiency. Duhon’s addition will certainly help but really, unless Mardy Collins buys a jump shot from somewhere, no single defender on this roster is the equal of Marion, Raja Bell, (a motivated) Amare, and perhaps not even an ancient Grant Hill from D’Antoni’s Phoenix teams. One of the things I’m most ambivalent about with D’Antoni is his almost Isiah-like penchant for delusion. I like that he sticks up for his guys, but I worry a bit about how much of his own BS he buys sometimes. I also worry a bit about his sensitivity to criticism in a season that isn’t likely to go all that well.
At any rate, this pre-season ought to be fairly interesting for the Knicks. I haven’t seen the team play yet, but my impression is that D’Antoni is trying to figure out his rotations in real time and get guys used to playing in the system together. So he’s intent on playing his core group deep into games. And although pre-season games aren’t super important all things equal, they are (imho) more important for teams that haven’t won much and for teams with new players or a new system. The Knicks are all of the above.
Ahhh… it’s good to be back paying attention to basketball again. Now that Reyes, Wright, Beltran and Delgado couldn’t haul that heap of bloated corpses comprising the rest of the Mets into the playoffs, and my beloved Seahawks are pissing away Mike Holmgren’s final season in spectacular fashion, it just feels right to shift my focus back to my other collection of lovable losers (present company excluded of course). I will be keeping an eye on Missouri and a surprisingly decent Arizona football team, but as far as I am concerned it’s GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO!!
Don’t give it to Curry there! You know he’s gonna turn it ov–
Well, get back on D! Don’t–
Well dammit if you’re gonna foul him don’t let him lay it up too! Jeez!
Good times. Good times…