D’Antoni Still Spelled Without A ‘D’?


There are impatient rumblings at Madison Square Garden, where the “deeee-fense” chant originated, because the Knicks under coach Mike D’Antoni are simply not deee-livering as they should.

Well, let’s just examine that statement a bit further. Especially the part about “as they should.”

Really, now: Should they? This is a team that hired a coach in D’Antoni who specialized in a quick-strike offense while in Phoenix, which won a lot of games but no championships. And this is a team that broke the Brinks for Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, a pair of hired guns who can score a bunch but often give up a bunch, too. And finally, this is a team that surrendered some decent defenders in the trade to get ‘Melo last season, a trade that never should’ve been made in the first place.

So yeah, that’s why we must ask: Should they? Or rather, can they?

The Knicks surrendered 118 points last night to the Bobcats, a team that usually needs two games to reach 118. It was surreal, seeing the offensively-challenged Bobcats shoot 55 percent, to see burly “center” Boris Diaw looking svelte as he tore through the Knicks for 12 of 15 shooting and 27 points, to see Gerald Henderson torch the Knicks’ backcourt for 24 points.

“We didn’t defend enough,” said D’Antoni, stating the obvious.

But how well can the Knicks defend, anyway?

With the exception of Tyson Chandler, there’s nobody on the roster who made their reputation with terrific D. Therefore, it’s hard to be a great defensive team when you lack great defensive players. Yes, the Knicks looked fine the previous game against the Raptors. And yes, defense is more an effort than an art form, and professional basketball players should at least give that effort on the other end. However, the Knicks as constituted paint a worrisome picture for New Yorkers, who see solid defense being played in Chicago, Boston and Miami, places where the Knicks must travel through to have any chance of reaching the NBA Finals anytime soon. The Knicks are giving up 99 a game, fourth-worst in the league, this early in the season.

Writing for the Daily News, here’s what Frank Isola said:

When the chant of de-fense, de-fense fell on deaf ears, the Garden crowd began calling for Iman Shumpert, who has instantly become a fan favorite. And if you listened closely enough there was a brief Phil Jackson chant before the mass exodus began. So for Mike D’Antoni perhaps the only positive thing to come out of Wednesday’s embarrassing 118-110 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats is that no one was calling for his head. but if the Knicks continue to perform poorly at home, that derisive chant is coming soon. And it will be loud.

Others are begin to wonder if it’s time to think about the future of the man on the bench in New York writes Adrian Wojnarowski‘s of Yahoo! Sports:

The Knicks don’t have a playmaker, and D’Antoni still doesn’t have a team that can defend consistently. D’Antoni has also come to the final year of his contract, the $24 million free-agent booty the Knicks gave him to escape a frugal owner and a GM, Steve Kerr, who tried to tell D’Antoni something he never wanted to hear: Defense mattered, and eventually it had to be important to him.

Back-to-back losses to the Toronto Raptors and Bobcats at the Garden dropped the Knicks to 2-4. It didn’t matter that the Bobcats had been obliterated by 74 points in three straight losses, that 24 hours earlier Cleveland had blown them out and Diaw had gone scoreless and owner Michael Jordan had one more mess on his hands.

“You’re talking about an NBA team,” D’Antoni said. “They’re good.”

Come on, Mike. Stop it. The Knicks will get over these losses, but this isn’t the way a lame-duck coach needed to start the season in New York. Bad week for the Knicks, but worse in the long run for the coach’s staying power on the job. This is a no-excuse season for the Knicks, and D’Antoni won’t be negotiating a contract extension without winning a round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

This isn’t simply D’Antoni’s fault. There are too many holes, and maybe too many parts that don’t fit together. The Knicks are counting on Baron Davis’ back to heal, Anthony and Stoudemire to learn to play together, and a Spartan bench to make serious contributions.

It doesn’t matter that management made D’Antoni hire a “defensive coordinator” for his coaching staff, a term he resents. D’Antoni didn’t want that kind of an assistant when Kerr tried to get him to hire Tom Thibodeau for the Suns, and he didn’t want it here.

The Knicks hired Mike Woodson, the former Hawks coach, to bring a defensive mindset, but how’s that working out? Not so well, if you listen to what ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Bagley has to say: 

Bottom line: the Knicks are 2-4 and have put together just one strong defensive performance through six games [they held the Kings to 36 percent shooting last Saturday].

So far, they’ve allowed opponents to shoot 45 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. They rank last in the league in rebounds and are getting out-rebounding by nearly ten per game.

Of course, it’s early. But if Wednesday night is any indication, the Knicks have a long way to go before they can compete on the defensive end.

They talked all training camp long about improving on the defensive end.

“We’ll get there,” Carmelo Anthony said. “It just a matter of when.”

So far, that’s all it’s been — a bunch of talk.

Oh, about that ‘Melo trade. Donnie Walsh, the former Knicks’ GM, argued fiercely against making it because he thought the Knicks were giving up too much. The reasoning then was the Knicks would simply hold onto their assets, wait for ‘Melo to become a free agent last summer, then sign him. But Walsh was over-ruled by owner Jim Dolan, and besides, ‘Melo wanted his money pronto. Supposedly there was the danger of losing ‘Melo to the Nets if the Knicks hadn’t swung the deal when they did, but the Knicks could’ve called that bluff. How would they look now if they had signed ‘Melo, re-signed free agent Wilson Chandler, and still had Ray Felton, Danilo Galinari, Timofey Mozgov and the rest? Better defensively, for sure.

With a high-priced front line, steep expectations in Gotham and a bloodthirsty media on the trail, the Knicks find themselves under a bit of pressure. Especially D’Antoni, who’s inching closer to the end of his contract. The team had little to nothing when he arrived (Walsh hired D’Antoni over Mark Jackson, who had no bench experience until he joined the Warriors this winter) but now D’Antoni has a pair of All-Stars and another player who won a championship in Dallas last summer in Chandler. Whether the demands are reasonable or not, the Knicks must begin to play the part of a contender soon. Or else the arena won’t be the only thing undergoing a makeover.



  1. Josh Martin says:

    I Like Your Blog About D’Antoni Still Spelled Without A ‘D’?.I Am Very Happy To Read Of Your Blog.Really Great Post.Its Brilliant.


  2. LG says:

    The best thing for the knicks would be to have a shocking season and pick up a strong draft pick next year! I am a knicks fan, but the best i can see them doing with this roster is 7th or 8th going out in the first round – Which means they don’t get good picks and they don’t improve… or trade melo or amare – They don’t play well on the same team.

  3. littlejune says:

    There’s only one name the Knicks should be considering if they want defense; a name that the Pistons front office rejected because they were thrilled with new coach Lawrence Frank’s interview for the head coaching job which “blew them away.” Not his coaching record, not his coaching record but his interview which “blew them away.” That name is Bill Laimbeer. You want someone who’s not going to take any cr@p from his players then love or seriously hate him Laimbeer is the one. Unless Jerry Sloan wants a crack at it.

  4. Shiq says:

    as a Nuggets fan , all i can say is “HA HA”… and “thank ya kindly”….

  5. Vick says:

    Laker fan here.
    Considering the big two (Melo & Stat) have been playing together since late last season, Its a little surprising seeing the struggle, Personally I never thought D’antony was the best couch for this group of players because your big three (Melo, Stat and TC) are better when they play half court. They’ll be fine once they’re offense starts to click.

  6. Scott says:

    Carmelo sucks!

    Amare sucks!

    Neither will ever win a ship.

  7. MED1971! says:

    As a Nugget fan, I watched Marshmello suck the life out of the Nuggets year after year with limited effort on D and throwing up shots simply to get his points. His percentage was horrible year after year but he got his points at the expense of the team. He is a marginal individual defender and he non-existent as a team defender. The Knicks have this clown and Stoudemire claiming half their salary cap…what a stupid move when building this team. On a positive note…the Nuggets are doing great! Thanks NY!!!!

  8. R B says:

    Mello & the rest must defend together as a team!

  9. Timbo says:

    Man I’ve been a huge fan of the Knicks for many years, but this is not a NY Knicks team, simple as that. This is a team of two lazy tier 2 stars, having a ball in the big apple, with a little b-ball on the side. You’re not tier 1 category guys, you don’t know and never will understand how hard MJ, KG, Lebron and Kobe work, you never will.

  10. Used to be NYK Fan says:

    In other words New York Knicks ain’t going to make it to the playoffs at all. Poor defense, bad shot selections, and just poor playing on both offense and defense. The way they are playing now is pathetic and will never make it to the finals!

  11. dindy mccoy says:

    the Knicks are losing because they have no quality starting guards mainly a point guard. they got rid of Chauncy Billups (quality point guard) after picking up his option (which to me is an insult to a future hall of famer like chauncy billups) to free up some money to sign Tyson Chandler and hoping to sign Chris Paul in the offseason. but its funny how the guard they wanted Chris Paul and the guard they no longer wanted Chauncy Billups ended up on the same team to form a new dinamic guard duo in los angeles making the clippers first of all a relevant team and also a possible playoff team who in my opinon are strong contenders for the nba championship. the knicks didnt know what they had until it was gone and that is Chauncy Billups.

  12. Nick says:

    Carmello Anthony is going to tank the Knicks. Biggest mistake they ever made. Notice how the Nuggets are a better team without Carmello Anthony? And that the Knicks are a worse team with Carmello Anthony? Oh, and Stoudemire, old and prone to injury. Tyson Chandler? Overrated. He had a great supporting cast.

  13. Danny says:

    New York ordered steak and are complaining that it’s not vegetarian. D’Antoni is all about offense. His teams don’t play defense and he runs a shallow rotation. It’s a fun system that wins lots of games and gets lots of attention, and his teams will make the ESPN TOP-10 each night, but it has too many holes (lack of defense, overusing 6-7 players) too many shortcomings to be a system that can actually win a championship. I never understood why New York felt the need to trade all of their solid role-players for Melo. Melo and Stat are not complementary players. Both Amare and Melo need a grounded and smart point guard to complement their styles. Plus, Amare and Melo are both offensive first players…further more, Melo does not play uptempo, he is a half-court isolation player, which completely contradicts D’Antoni’s system. When things are clicking for Amare and Melo, their offensive is unstoppable, and they will win some big games against some solid teams (Lakers, Bulls, Miami, OKC) but they are not built to go deep into the playoffs. Picking up Baron Davis was a huge downgrade from Chauncey Billups. Unless Deron Williams takes a major pay cut to sign with New York, or Chris Paul leaves the Clippers high and dry, New York is going to be desperate for a point guard who can fascinate their offense. The only possibility other than those two is maybe Steve Nash. Nash’s contract is up at the end of the year and I could see him signing for the MLE to chase a title with the Knicks. Who better than to run D’Antoni’s system? However, this might very well be D’Antoni’s last year, and if it is, it’ll be too late.

  14. MR. PAYNE says:


  15. Knicks need Rondo!!!! says:

    A perfect trade would be Rondo & KG for Amare, and the celtics new big three would be Pierce, Ray & Amare which makes them younger.

    Knicks get a defensive pg in rondo and KG

  16. Eoin says:

    Not the coaches fault, no honesty of effort from the players… Knicks players could take a leaf out of Avery Bradley’s book at Boston, now thats trying to play defense…

  17. Knicks need Rondo!!!! says:

    Rondo is the answer right now, somehow I would make this happen

  18. Paul says:

    True and true. Management hired him in order to revive the franchise. They were not looking for championship. They want the games to run and be exciting. everyone know D’Antoi will not bring a championship. to make it worse, the current roster does not fit his style of play as well. He no longer has a speed PG like Nash or Felton. He also lost his quick gunner in Galinari. All and all, you find the Knicks climb out of one hole and jump right into another. One series of bad moves after another. I thought the prerequisite of being management is SMART??

  19. Bkny6978 says:

    Its the first game the Knicks gave up more than 100 points, they arent going to be great on defense overnight.

  20. Craig says:

    This is the real reason why the Knicks defense sucks… PURE LAZINESS

  21. David says:

    The big three should each take a pay cut so management can replenish the bench, get a solid backup center who can take up space and give fouls, and someone who can spot up and shoot the three. Trade for Steve Nash to run the offense, while dumping some reserve players who still have value. Have Baron Davis share ball-handling duties with Nash and work a bit more on defense and you’ve got yourself a contender. Then you can talk about making a deep run in the playoffs.

  22. axel says:

    What a pretentious story by S.P. Man, Mike D. is not a magician. Who can tell Carmelo and Amare to play defence? This team is build wrong. These players have not enough IQ for this game.

  23. Markus says:

    Why the hell aren’t they using Amare for pick & rolls? That’s been money his whole career. But then again he was being fed by Nash. Maybe once Baron gets healthy and in game shape they can make some noise together. Arenas might be a good fit too. But if Agent 0 signs in NY there would be too many head cases on the Knicks. It was very tough to watch them lose to the friggen Raptors & Bobcats. Jordan beats the Knicks again. Kill me now

  24. Another Knicks Fan says:

    Yes it is Mike D’antoni’s fault. The whole time you’re watching the Knicks use a man to man defense. And with that every time Tyson Chandler is out at the 3 point line guarding DJ Augustin while toney douglas has to guard boris diaw or something. They need to start playing some zone defense, esp since carmelo and amare aren’t the best one on one defenders anyway so it’ll hide their weakness. Knicks should get a defensive coach altogether after mike d’antoni’s contract expires cuz they have offense in carmelo and amare. Also Toney Douglas is NOT a point guard at all, he shouldn’t be starting at point. They need to play Jeremy Lin until Baron Davis comes back because at least he’s a real point guard and can break down the D and kick it out. On offense everyone is playing one on one, or Toney Douglas is chucking it up. And how bout puttin Iman Shumpert in the starting lineup over landry fields? I’d also like to see Jerome Jordan get more playing time.

  25. Josh says:

    This article is 10000% ON POINT – Knick fans can call for D’antoni’s head all they want…and yes they might get a new coach…but that doesn’t change the fact that they have absolutely NO bench and a roster of players (besides chandler and looking like shumpert) who can play defense

  26. maurice says:

    man i been tellin ppl Dallas was a way better spot for him kidd helped chander be who he was and the coaching help his defense Dallas brought the best out of him when was he doin that stuff before he was gettin oops from paul and that was it think he can do very well in New York but they have to adjust to him if they want to get the best out of him like they need the zone badly all the stars they got there should do well with the zone i bet there d sky rocket then and Melo needs to get better on the D side if you pay attention he is horrible against top tier playes need a example that Laker Game when Kobe was playin with him smh lol! Dallas knew what they were doing and im tired of ppl sayin Dallas lost there D now watch a good coach makes the right adjustments and they win hit there hole season last year they were changin the lineups every other game TC wasnt even starting when he came to Dallas so it starts with the coaches then the players must get it done! o yea GoMavs!

  27. NY Vlad says:

    they need good guard play, specifically point guard to run the pick and roll with amare so he can get his and melo will always get his. Tyson chandler got overpaid and thats why we couldnt keep billups. if we had billups we would not be losing games against anyone this season…especially the bobcats warriors and raptors.
    If baron davis comes in and start playing well look for the knicks to have the best record in the league during the last 20 games

  28. manny says:

    Denver fasn are enjoying each moment of this they are so match better without melo….. Melo is just another big name player who rely on his teammates to defend for him…. Boston became a contender with the addition of ray Allen and KD Miami is good with james and bosh and knew york cant get it dome with their three star including two of them who are paid more than a 100 milion

  29. Nba intelligence says:

    Sorry. just 1 last thing. If the Knicks really are serious about contending, They will increase their chances, and team chemistry by going out and getting….GILBERT ARENAS. He is freinds with Baron and Tyson, he wants to play in New York, he will serve as a great Mentor for Iman Shumpert (Relax, I mean Basketball wise, not off court), and he will definately Be another playmaker. The knicks problem is playmaking. They need guys that dont rely on Carmelo to bring it up. Toney almost immediately gives the ball to Melo as soon as he touches it…and that makes any point guards life a living hell. Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler starting 5. Off the bench, pg’s- Gilbert Arenas/Mike Bibby sg’s- Toney Douglas/Landry Fields sf’s- Bill Walker/Renaldo Balkman pf’s Josh Harrolson/ Jared Jefferies C’s Jerome Jordan/Jarred Jefferies. Use the Mid-level exception on Wilson Chandler when he is eligable, if not…settle for Kenyon Martin. You tell me signing Gilbert Arenas would not tremendously bolster the Knicks roster.

  30. FAN3000 says:

    This New York team is a fail.. They should trade Amare or Melo for a All-star replacment that plays D

  31. the right move says:

    is true that is early in the season, is true that preseason were too short, is true that Baron is not healthy yet. im looking forward for him to come back if it makes a difference, but i think it wont make any difference. for the line up Knicks have, they should be able to grab every single board. Melo, Amare, Chandler, they are all easy double double guys on points and rebound. crash the board if you dont want to play defense. i think Amare needs to pick up the slack on he needs to make some major effort on defense. problem we having are also Amare and Melo play style are very much alike. if i was the GM i would make a trade on Amare get a solid defense power forward, and get a true point guard, or just hire a different coach that play defense. we’ll see whats gonna happen when Baron comes back……

  32. Nba intelligence says:

    Honestly, people need to lay off of Mike D’Antoni a little bit. Its easy to blame the coach, but at some point, players have to hold themself accountable! I remember the good days, when SUPERSTAR players would step up in a big ball game and say to the coach “FORGET THE GAME PLAN….I AM GUARDING HIM!!” Kobe has done it, Jordan, heck…even Lebron has done it! Borris Diaw? who started as a 2 in the Nba, and worked his way to a 5? This has NOTHING to do with the Coach anymore….110 should win you any ballgame if you are the star-studded Knicks…AT HOME!! It was simply a lack of effort…and THAT YOU CAN NOT TEACH!! Now…if you really want to know what the coaches fault was…it was playing to the crowd, rather than playing for the long run. A loss to the Bobcats yesturday means absolutely nothing except another L…Iman Shumpert IS NOT A BENCH PLAYER!! HE IS YOUR THIRD SCORING OPTION, AND THEIR BEST PLAYMAKER! MOST ELECTRIC PLAYER! BEST BALLHANDLER! QUICKEST PLAYER! Why let him play that many minutes, and risk getting him injured for the long run? To be honest, the minute I saw Iman come in and do what he did, I would have sat him. Not because he messed up, but because I just realised, I have a soon to be superstar on my hands…GET HIM 100 percent, and my team will be what I envisioned it. Iman is a hell of a player…and if their is anybody I can compare him to…its a certain #3 in Miami…Can you say..”Wade??”

  33. Armin Halvadzic says:

    they gonna be ok in the long run.

  34. rich says:

    As much as I would love for Chandler to stay as a Mav, I don’t think he is regretting any decision he made. He was clearly after the money and longer term contract when he signed with the Knicks. Plus the Knicks roster, in paper, is not bad at all. Defense is very easy to preach, but doing it in regular basis takes a real commitment and over-all team effort which a lot of Knicks players are failing to do.

  35. Britt says:

    does anyone feel like the Knicks need a better bench, defense is important but it also doesnt work if your bench isnt scoring and i still think the knicks losing wilson chandler and danilo gallinari was a mistake

  36. 21 says:

    Knicks fan here … Watching the Knicks play defense last night hurt my eyes … they really deserved the boo’s they got in MSG. I mean, seriously, if they keep playing D like they did so far, they’ll maybe get a 7 or 8 seed and helplessly lose the first round against Miami, Chicago or Boston. They’d probably also lose against Indiana, Philly, Atlanta and Orlando.
    They really, really need to get their act together if they want a chance to get beyond the 1st round. I mean, c’mon, allowing the BOBCATS to score 118 on you? With that kind of defensive performance a team like the Heat, Thunder or Lakers would’ve probably scored 200 on us …

  37. knick him out says:

    I place most of the blame on D’Antoni. If you watch the games they hoist transition threes on about twenty times a game, with no one in a position to rebound for second chance points. I’ve never been a fan of his coaching style, especially without a Steve Nash running the point. You can see the Knicks look confused on offense inside the three point line and their defense has no structure what so ever. I’d take any non run n gun coach over him any day.

  38. Melo7 says:

    When you have a coach that hates defense, and defense wins you championships…
    Just saying.

  39. Robert Gruze says:

    Knicks fans (of which I am one) and reporters seem to be focused on the wrong things when analyzing the Knicks struggles. Yes, Amar’e and Anthony could be a bit better defensively, but the reality is they aren’t terrible (Amar’e is a good shotblocker and Carmelo is a good defensive rebounder), so if Chandler is as good as he seemed to be with Dallas last year, the Knicks should be an above average defensive front court. The reason they are losing is because they have one of (if not the) worst starting backcourts in the league. And it is very hard to win in this league without a good backcourt. Unforutanately, the Knicks did not have enough foresight (nor did I) to see that Landry Fields would eventually struggle to compete at the NBA level because he was able to thrive in the pre-Carmelo era run-and-gun system where he was the fifth option taking wide open threes. But that is no longer the case, and in a half court set, he can’t even seem to get his shot off half the time because he is not nearly as quick as opposing guards. And as for Toney Douglas, I like him a lot, but he went from being an above average backup guard to a below average starter. If Shumpert can progress and Baron Davis can come back healthy, then Douglas can return to the bench as both a 1 and 2 guard backup, and I think the Knicks can be a .500+ team. So far Shumpert shows more potential than either Fields or Douglas and needs to play 30-35 minutes a night. However, if Davis does not make it back healty and Shumpert does not progress, I don’t think the Knicks will make the playoffs. Losses at home to Charlotte and Toronto, and a drubbing at the hands of the Curry-less Warriors, are not just early-season blues, they suggest that this is going to be a long (even if shortened), disappointing season for the Knicks. In any event, I have time warner cable so no longer get to watch them — maybe it’s for the best.

  40. Spur64 says:

    Not much diff with this coach….was the same with Phoenix. So exciting to watch them score all those points just to let your opponent score one more to win the game. Defense wins Championships in every sport, just checkout the Spurs in there prime…..their D was solid game after game. Having a bid offense is fun to watch but not successful long term.

  41. Knicko says:

    D’Antoni just can’t coach D and can’t coach without a Superstar PG. Steve Nash made D’Antoni a great coach. Who to blame? Management for hiring this clown.

    • fan says:

      Sad but true, D’Antoni needs to be replaced. Knicks don’t need the offensive specialist when they have two of the best isolation players in the league. And the Melo trade was a mistake in the first place.

  42. In addition to their defensive issues, the Knicks are also having problems scoring the ball. Last season, New York averaged 106.5 points per game for second best in the NBA. This season that number has dropped all the way down to 95.8 with the Knicks scoring fewer than 90 points in half of their six games so far.

    It is true that D’Antoni is still spelled without a “D,” but it also looks like he is beginning to lose the “O” as well.

  43. dirk45 says:

    I wonder if TC thinks at the end of the season that it would have been better to stay in Dallas for less money..

    • Tune says:

      Yeah, it would of been better for him to do that. However, he wanted the money because he already got the ring. That’s just how some players are.

    • Rob says:

      Its gonna take some time for things to mesh with New York..if u remeber the way Maimi started off last season..Its pretty familare. Thers to much great players on one team for things not to smooothen out.

      • makes difference says:

        look the this the difference between knicks and heat..!! 1st of all LBJ came from a defensive team the cavaliers and d’wade plays for a defensive team before signing a extension..!!! they both made 1st and 2nd all nba defensive team award for the last 3 to 4 years…!!! and they are both in top 5 in scoring…!!! so they are good defensively and offensively..!!! and they got a defensive role players like mario chalmers joel anthony udonis haslem and juwan howard last year..!!! and they got offensive spark plugs like chris bosh(who is living in the shadow of lbj and wade) that can errupt if you give him a chance and 3 point treat like james jones , mike bibby and mike miller..!! and for the knicks.. look!! carmelo anthony and amare stoudemire both came from offensive oriented teams like nuggets and suns..( that can win by scoring a lot of points but no defense) the only player in knicks uniform who is defensive minded is tyson chandler!! they sign baron davis to play defense do they forget that he came from cleveland, clippers and golden state who relying heavily and run and gun style like the knicks whos coach hates defense (what he dont see he can’t play up tempo basketball if the players are not playing excellent defense) just look OKC thunder they are a run and gun style or up tempo team but also they play defense with consistence !! plus NYK knicks have the worst bench in the nba (defensively and offensively)!!!