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Tag:Mike D'Antoni
Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 11:27 am
 

Report: Knicks to interview Woodson for defense

By Matt Moore

The Knicks have decided to hire a defensive specialist as an assistant coach to see if he can manage to stop the bleeding of the Knicks' defense while they keep the parry and thrust of the offense going with Mike D'Antoni's work. The plan is to have a "defensive coordinator" type guy on staff to provide insight into that end so that D'Antoni can do what he does best, focus on socring tons of points. The Knicks are taking interviews, and it looks like former Hawks head coach Mike Woodson is on the list, via the New York Post

Woodson would be an excellent fit at the position. He knows how to coach both stars and role players, he's a former player, he was drafted by the Knicks and he can balance a line between discipline and support. The Knicks would do well to hire Woodson. 

At the same time, there's only so much an asssistant coach can do. What the Knicks really need is better personnel, particularly at the rim. Trading Timofey Mozgov in the Melo trade was particularly harmful. Yes, he's most known for getting dunked on by Blake Griffin and has a long way to go in every area of his game, but Mozgov showed a willingness to attack defensively at the rim, the Knicks' softest spot. Woodson can improve the talent he's got, but he can't make miracles. Maybe most interesting is what he can do with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, the two biggest minute guys on the Knicks and two guys who need to improve their defense immediately. 

Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:39 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 9:45 am
 

Why Jimmer Fredette makes sense for the Knicks

Posted by Matt Moore

It should be apparent by now that I'm not big on Jimmer Fredette as an NBA prospect. I've been trying to cool the irons on him since March. I've plugged him in as low as the late teens in mock drafts. I listed him in the "Buyer Beware" post. Basically, if you wanted to make the case that I'm a "hater," you wouldn't have to spend long cooking up the formula. In reality, I merely have concerns about his length, athleticism and adaptation to the NBA game. But in light of Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's recent post wrapping up the latest draft news, there's one scenario where Fredette can not only survive in the NBA game, but flourish. From the halls of Brigham Young to the streets of New York. From KB: 

If Toronto passes on Biyombo, some execs believe he could slide as far as 14-18, and the Knicks, with the 17th pick, are known to be high on him. But the apple of the Knicks’ eye is BYU sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, and New York officials are trying to compute how far they’d have to trade up for him and what it would cost.
via NBA draft buzz: Kyrie No. 1 - CBSSports.com.

New York is the one place where Jimmer could not only become a decent role player (which is possible anywhere he's drafted, the kid can play after all) but develop into a legitimate star. While he'll never be Steve Nash, D'Antoni's system does reward players with quick instincts and efficient jumpers, which Jimmer has both of. D'Antoni has a knack for taking players of odd-fitting ilk (Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields) and producing effective players by employing them correctly in his fast-paced dance. 

Fredette's never going to win any foot races in the NBA, but by filling in on the perimeter in transition to find open shots and by learning to distribute by sheer volume of opportunity, Fredette can become something more than he would be otherwise in the NBA. It's certainly true that D'Antoni preferes accomplished veterans whose athleticism prevails, but there's something to be said of the nexus of talent where D'Antoni's machinations so often play. Yes, Nash is a daring specimen in terms of conditioning despite his back problem, but it's always been his guile that has set him apart, as it did under D'Antoni. Fredette can quite simply remain a threat at all times as he loops under the basket and around it, while aslo working off of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Fredette in the pick and roll with either player could be deadly as Fredette's shooter's touch would deny the defense's ability to cut under the screen and dare the ball-handler to shooot. Instead, due attention would have to be paid to Fredette which would open up angles for the superstars on the roll.

Granted all this is dependent on Fredette actually falling to wherever the Knicks wind up picking on Thursday. But as New York continues to pursue deals to move up -- among the many teams that should be wary of Fredette's limitations -- New York provides the right situation for Jimmer to thrive and be the firecracker his narrative so desperately sells him as.

Plus, no one will be able to tell if he can't play defense in New York. Sorry, the joke had to be made.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:51 am
 

Trade rumor: Knicks after Wolves G Jonny Flynn?

The New York Knicks are reportedly considering trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn. Posted by Ben Golliver. jonny-flynn

Clear the decks for Ricky Rubio!

The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally convinced the Spanish point guard to come to the NBA for next season. That means the team must now resolve a problem created when the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in the first six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

The easiest way to make sure that Rubio has enough playing time and space to get acclimated to the NBA game? Ship out Flynn, of course.

The New York Daily News reports that the Timberwolves and New York Knicks have discussed a Flynn trade.
The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for point guard Jonny Flynn.

No formal deal is in place, but the Knicks are debating whether Flynn, the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft would be a viable option to back up Chauncey Billups for at least one season. Flynn has become expendable now that the Wolves have signed Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was taken one pick ahead of Flynn.

Toney Douglas would likely be the player traded for Flynn.
If All-Star appearances were handed out based on personality, Flynn would be a perennial selection. Unfortunately, a back injury and a rough transition into coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense have stunted his growth as an NBA player. 

To date, he's proved to be a jitterbug that can provide some scoring punch but not much else. Flynn's fit as a backup point guard would be slightly better than Douglas' but not markedly so. Both are scoring guards, but Flynn has more upside as a distributor. It's quite possible he looks much better as a playmaker when he's sharing the court with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony rather than Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.

A change of scenery will no doubt do Flynn a lot of good. Trading for Flynn, who's coming off an injury and playing for a terrible team for two years, is the definition of "buying low." One concern: He is on the books for $3.4 million next season, which is a bit more than teams like to pay for a relatively unproven backup point guard. 

The Knicks, of course, have bigger questions at point guard. They will need to move Billups at some point if they hope to become a true championship contender. This trade is definitely one you consider from New York's perspective. The more talent you get behind Billups the better. Flynn's quickness would seem to be a major asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system. 

This wouldn't be a game-changing move for the Knicks, but Flynn's charisma seems like a natural fit at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 6:48 am
 

D'Antoni not too worried about losing his job

Posted by Royce Young

After the question of Donnie Walsh's future was settled with his decision to move to an advisory role with the team this week, now it's about what happens with coach Mike D'Antoni.

Maybe D'Antoni's biggest fan -- besides his wife, I assume -- was Walsh. But according to the New York Post, owner James Dolan is also in the corner of D'Antoni.
It is unclear if a contract extension would be discussed, but one source said Dolan likes D’Antoni a lot. D’Antoni has one year and $6 million left on his contract, and Dolan is not keen on eating it during a lockout-shortened season with revenues down.
Following the sweep at the hands of the Celtics in the opening round, D'Antoni's seat went form warm to hot. The team was playing without Chauncey Billups in three of the four games, but being swept isn't something Knicks' fans had in mind when the team made the postseason.

D'Antoni spoke with the Post recently and expressed that he's not too worried about his future with the Knicks.

“No, I feel good,” D’Antoni said. “I hate it Donnie is leaving. I owe a lot to him. We had three good years. He did exactly what he wanted and said he would do and he’s got us in position to be one of the better teams in the NBA next year. That’s to his credit.

“We worked well together,” he added. “I appreciate his support and I feel good about us having a great year next season. It’s all a coach can ask for, to have him give me that chance. He’s put me in that position.”

The biggest criticism of D'Antoni this year came because of incredible defensive meltdowns, specifically in the second halves of games. The Knicks have two premier scorers in Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but both of those players lack on the defensive end.

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding D'Antoni's assistants who all have their contracts expire June 30. According to the New York Times, D'Antoni is expected to add a defensive specialist to his staff at the request of the front office. As the report notes, that's nothing new -- in Phoenix, Marc Iavaroni served as D’Antoni’s defensive coach for three and a half seasons.

There isn't much doubt that D'Antoni will return next season to finish out his contract but if things start slowly, his seat could turn to fire. And of course if marked improvement isn't shown -- especially on both ends -- it's not going to matter how much Dolan likes him. It's time for the Knicks to start winning again.

Posted on: April 24, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 10:09 pm
 

Celtics sweep sends Knicks to summer of questions

The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks in their first round NBA playoff series, sending New York into the summer with a host of questions. Posted by Ben Golliver.
celtics-knicks

The Boston Celtics sent the New York Knicks into the summer with a 101-89 victory in Game 4, sweeping the first round playoff series in relatively easy fashion. The series victory comes as no surprise, although New York's inability to pull out at least one win is a bit eye-opening. When your starting point guard goes down in Game 1 and your franchise player is dealing with back pain through Games 3 and 4, though, the sweep isn't crippling. That isn't rationalizing. That's reality.

The Knicks exited Madison Square Garden to cheers, and with their heads up. They chose to focus on the positive: the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004, and they're poised for countless return trips with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony locked into long-term deals. Things could be a lot worse for the Knicks. Hell, things have been a lot worse for the Knicks.

But that doesn't make this a worry-free summer. Not by a longshot. Despite the level of certainty that comes with having two franchise players on the same roster, there are plenty of unanswered questions looming. 

Teams like the Celtics spend the summer dealing with questions like "Who should be our backcourt energy guy off the bench?" The Lakers ask themselves questions like: "Which veteran forward has the proven ability to dish out flagrant fouls and annoy people?" Those are the types of questions that contenders ask themselves as they prune their bonsai tree.

The Knicks have planted their playoffs seed, but that's about it. New York's questions, really, are huge. Starting with: "Who is going to be our GM next season?" Continuing with: "Is Mike D'Antoni the right coach for this job?" Those lead neatly into questions about the roster. "Are we totally sure that we want to pay Chauncey Billups $14 million next season after he broke down in the first game of the playoffs?" And, perhaps the most pressing of all: "We still don't have a center, do we?"

Even with all of those questions hanging unanswered, Anthony struck an optimistic tone with the New York Times following Game 4. ""Some happy times is ahead of us," he said. And he's correct. The Knicks are on the rise, their salary ledger is in fairly tidy shape and the Celtics are another year older while the Orlando Magic appear to be imploding. There's nothing stopping New York from being an elite team in the mid-term future. We could easily be looking at an Eastern Conference that is dominated by the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat and the Knicks over the next five years. This summer, however, will be crucial to making that a reality.

Aside from Stoudemire and Anthony, New York's cupboard is pretty bare. Landry Fields is a nice piece, Ronny Turiaf is a rotation guy and Toney Douglas is worth keeping around. That's five players. New York will need to add another 3-5 quality pieces if they're serious about contending.

New York's dream of chasing an elite center like Dwight Howard, or even an above-average big man like Marc Gasol, are unlikely to come to fruition. Without trade assets or the ability to outbid for a free agent, that top-level talent is likely to pass them by. The good news: there's room to compromise. The Knicks really only need half of a center: a defense and rebounding specialist to make Stoudemire's life a bit easier. Throw that player in with Turiaf and the frontcourt rotation is essentially set.

The tougher question is what to do with Billups. He's certainly not worth the $14.2 million he's on the books for next season, but the size of his partial guarantee ($3.7 million) makes that a tough bullet to bite. There has been some discussion about an extension for Billups that could alleviate some of next year's cap hit but he hardly seems like the player you want to commit to long-term if you're New York, given the age of your stars and the nature of his game. Committing to Billups is far more likely to be a salary cap anchor rather than roster stabilizer. Paying him his $14.2 million and then attempting to shop him in advance of next year's deadline might be the best solution. He's capable, if not spectacular, and his expiring contract would be one of the few available trade chips in New York's war chest.

But nothing gets done roster-wise until the Knicks make a decision on Donnie Walsh. The saga surrounding his future has been one of the most puzzling in the league. Retaining Walsh is a no-brainer, assuming he's interested. But if he isn't brought back -- either because owner James Dolan decides to go another direction or because age caught up with him -- it's imperative that the Knicks find a like-minded executive to carry out his franchise construction plan. Given the gigantic dollars already committed to Anthony and Stoudemire, an executive wielding a scalpel is far preferable to one toting a chainsaw.

As for D'Antoni, the trip to the playoffs should ensure his future for another season. He displayed progress and injuries and talent disparity are the causes of this sweep, not his decisions. He's well-regarded and solid enough, despite the questions on the defensive end, to take a deeper Knicks team further into the postseason in coming years.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:26 pm
 

D'Antoni: 'I'd like to see (Rondo) play on Minny'

Posted by Matt Moore with special thanks to Ken Berger

You know what I'd do if I were head coach of a team that was down 0-3 in a series and heading in to an elimination game against the defending Eastern Conference champs? I'd question the ability of the point guard who just dropped the second ever 20-assist playoff triple-double on me. Great idea, right? I'd question how he would play were he not surrounded by three Hall of Famers who also happen to be very protective of said enigmatic point guard, and also happen to be very capable of taking out their frustrations on the court. That's what I would do... if I were a masochist. 

Mike D'Antoni is said masochist. 

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, live from Madison Square Garden for today's Knicks-Celtics Game 4: 




Mike, it isn't like Rondo just had an okay game or series. He didn't just hit a double-double one night to help out his club. This is the guy who dropped 20 assists on you in a triple-double... twice! Of the eight times such a feat has been accomplished, regular season or playoffs, Rondo has done it three times. Two of them have come against New York.  

D'Antoni may need to spend more time in the countryside. The expression, "You mess with the bull, you get the horns?" It has a literal meaning which might help him avoid tweaking players who have the proven skillset to totally dismantle his club on the hardwood, and, this time, send them packing into the longest NBA layoff in 12 years. 

D'Antoni's point isn't without merit, though. We have never seen Rondo without the three Hall of Famers. Rondo's ball-fake, slip-pass, lightning fast whip passes wouldn't produce as many points if he were slinging to Michael Beasley, Travis Outlaw, Sasha Vujacic, Donte Greene, or any of the other casts of the lotto squads. But Rondo's learned so much with his time among the Big 3 that it's not like he'd fall off the cliff. We'll get a chance in a few years to see what Rondo looks like when he's the best player on the team from a career perspective, and whether that translates to the same kind of success he's had among the greats in Boston. 

D'Antoni did tell reporters, "But Rondo's a very, very good basketball player. Really good. There's no doubt about that." But does he think that part of the quote is what's going to get put on the bulletin board in the Celtics' locker room, or pasted on highlight reels before clips of Game 4? D'Antoni's greater philosophical point may be worth examination, but within the context of the series, and in its timing, it was a poor decision. 

Horns, Mike. Horns. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:22 pm
 

NBA Playoffs: Amar'e Stoudemire will play Game 4


Posted by Matt Moore

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com before today's Game 4 between the Knicks and Celtics, an elimination game for New York:




If the Knicks are going to have any shot at making this a series, they need a great Amar'e. Stoudemire will give it a go. Without Billlups, Toney Douglas will go again. We'll see if it's as amusing as it was last time. 

For more on today's Knicks-Celtics Game 4, follow Ken Berger on Twitter
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:52 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:47 am
 

Series Reset: Celtics at another level than NY

Can the Knicks get one for their pride? Or will the Celtics make another statement in the Garden? Either way, this series is over. 

Posted by Matt Moore





The Narrative: Were the Knicks exposed in Game 3? Even without Billups, it certainly felt like it. The Celtics hit the gear we've been waiting for them to hit for months. They looked every bit the team that most thought would contend for the title in June, with or without Perkins. The Knicks? Well, they looked like a team that traded half their roster for a high-usage scorer with questionable defensive ability and never addressed their gaping, vaccumous hole at center. The Celtics are unlikely to play that well again. But the Knicks had two winnable games in Boston, and blew both of them. The Celtics woke up, and look like they're ready to end things quickly, quietly, and mercifully for the Knicks. This game feels more like a chance for the Celtics to make another statement than the Knicks' last stand. 

The Hook: Amar'e Stoudemire is "iffy" for Game 4. Which means the Knicks have to run more, which they've completely forgotten how to do. A Mike D'Antoni team that doesn't know how to run the break? So it's basically a bad defensive team that doesn't do anything well offensively. Yeah, this should end well. Stoudemire wasn't very effective in Game 3; you could tell the back spasms were really hurting him. Without him, it means the Knicks' forwards have to step up. If you can name them, enjoy your tickets to the game. Shawne Williams, Bill Walker, Ronny Turiaf, Jared Jeffries? Yeah, this just isn't working out too well. Maybe Melo will score 100, though. That would be pretty cool. The Knicks might still lose, but hey, it would make for good headlines. 

The Adjustment: Toney Douglas has to be more aggressive. In Game 3, Douglas pulled up on transition opportunities while his coach begged him to push. Against a better defensive team, you cannot operate in the half-court set and hope to win. Douglas has to be hyper-aggressive in every opportunity they're blessed with, and push the ball. If Douglas can't get it done, give Anthony Carter a try. Trying and failing is better than not trying at this point. The Knicks' half-court offense is entirely ISO sets at this point. The Knicks have to try and open that up by pushing the ball and getting some of their scorers some confidence, and firing up the crowd. The half-court set just means more plays Rondo can make and more Allen 3-pointers. The Knicks have to play to the team D'Antoni assembled ... or what is left of that team after James Dolan gutted it to get a scoring forward. 

The X-Factor: Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal has been huge in this series, which tells you a lot about where the Knicks' center rotation is at. O'Neal has had the mid-range going, has worked the glass, has defended at the rim, and has given the requisite hard fouls. If O'Neal keeps up this play, and stays healthy, this could be a huge factor in the playoffs going forward. And as long as he plays decently in Game 4, the Knicks will have lost the positional matchup at center. Again. 

The Sticking Point: The Celtics are awake, now. And the gap between the two franchises, the two rosters, the two teams was evident in Game 3. How do the Knicks respond to that kind of face-kicking? The problem is that it doesn't matter, nor does the great atmosphere of the Garden. The Knicks could win Game 4 in a special combination of elements, but barring an outright miracle, this series isn't going further than five games. The Celtics struggled in the first two and the Knicks still couldn't get a win. Now, the Celtics are motivated and ready to contend for a title. And, after a frustrating couple months, the Knicks are the first team they're taking their frustrations out on. Even if the Knicks win, they don't win. The future's exceptionally bright for New York, and that's why the trade was made. But, right now, in this moment, they simply can't measure up. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com