It is safe to say in any sport, offense wins games but defense wins series and championships. If this is the case the New York Knicks will not return to the elite status in the NBA win Mike D’Antoni as the coach.
Let’s face it, the man just doesn’t know how to coach defense. When he had players who play great perimeter defense such as Ronnie Brewer and Anthony Randolph, D’Antoni hardly played them or urged them to be more offensive oriented for his style of play. If he didn’t play defense when he had defensive stoppers, how is he going to play or coach defense with two superstars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, who are known as bad defenders.
When Melo first came to the Knicks I thought they might have a chance of knocking off a team such as the Miami Heat or the Orlando Magic in the playoffs. But, if they got matched up with either of those teams, they would be on a plane back to New York in five games. The Knicks defense is not able to contend with a trio of great scorers of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and could not do anything against Dwight Howard.
I give the Knicks owner James Dolan props for bringing in the talents of Stoudemire and Anthony, but he has to have a coach who can translate them, Chauncey Billups and the scrubs into a winning team. If D’Antoni’s offensive style didn’t win championships or conference finals with the Phoenix Suns when they had Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa and Raja Bell, it isn’t going to bring rings or banners in New York either.
In the first two games of the first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks were close to victory because of the offense. Kudos to D’Antoni’s coaching and the role players hitting big shots when Anthony wasn’t. In the end, New York lost both games because they couldn’t stop the Celtics hall of famers from adding to their resumes. Ray Allen knocked down a dagger three in game one and Kevin Garnett hit the game winning shot in game two.
The defense lapse wasn’t only in the final minutes but throughout the entirety of the game. Rajon Rando has been scared to shoot a jump shot but he is attacking the basket at will. Honestly, all of the Celtics are doing whatever is they please offensively.
D’Antoni’s style of ball just doesn’t win when it needs to win. Finishing the season above .500 and making it to the playoffs are great accomplishments for coaches who have never done it before, not coaches who have went to the conference finals. The Knicks have what they need offensively, Anthony and Stoudemire.
If the Knicks want to make it to the next level they need defense, which means…a new coach.