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Steve Nash has Mike D’Antoni’s back in New York

Jan 19, 2012, 1:09 PM EDT

Mike D'Antoni Steve Nash Getty Images

Steve Nash came into Madison Square Garden Wednesday night and handed the Knicks their fourth-straight loss.

Which has led to renewed calls for the head of Mike D’Antoni in some skyscrapers and pizza parlors around New York and the boroughs. He’s in the last year of his contract and his Knicks do not look like the borderline contender some Knicks fans expected after the Carmelo Anthony trade.

But Nash has his old coach’s back. He told what most of the rest of us have realized — they haven’t given the coach a roster that fits his system.

“He’s in a tough position,” Nash, a two-time NBA MVP who entered averaging 14 points and an NBA-best 10.0 assists, said of D’Antoni. “They’ve constantly changed and brought in new people and now that he’s got all these new pieces he hasn’t really had the point guard he’s wanted…so for me it’s been a constant transition and a constant waiting game.

“Waiting for the Melo trade to happen and free agency they gave away their point guard [Chauncey Billups] to get Tyson [Chandler] and fill up their frontcourt and they have a guy to guard the interior. Now they’re waiting for Baron [Davis] to get healthy, so you know that’s tough. It’s tough not to have that balance full of roster, so I do feel for him.”

Knicks fans, here is a question for you: Would you be willing to keep D’Antoni if it was the only way to get Steve Nash to come next season?

The issue right now is nobody is capable of structuring the Knicks offense the way D’Antoni wants it. As Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe pointed out on twitter, the Knicks run a higher percentage of isolation plays in their offense than any other team in the league, but they are 29th in the league in points per possession on isolation plays. Frankly, a lot of that is Carmelo Anthony.

Nash could orchestrate the offense and get guys easy buckets in transition and cuts in the half-court, easy buckets the Knicks don’t seem to get now. Remember how fiercely Amare Stoudemire attacked the rim off pick-and-rolls with Nash — the Knicks need that kind of energy back in the half court. It is not there now and lack of the right point guard is the reason.

But I think the Knicks problems are more about roster structure than the coach. Not everyone sees it that way, and not everyone within the Knicks sees it that way.

But can D’Antoni this summer and the odds of Nash coming to town go down. Something to think about.

  1. bknowledge - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    the problem with the Knicks offense…

    they like to run isolations for Melo, and sometimes Amare….that is a great play under certain circumstances…and a bad one in other circumstances…

    Melo can’t iso with Amare and Tyson on the court…NBA allows zones…and Amare and Tyson’s men are able to crowd the lane…

    ideal center for this team (and D’Antoni teams generally) is Sam Perkins…

    guys like Bill Laimbeer are also good…

    basicly, a center who (in order of importance):

    1) shoots 3 pointers- that should really be their only offense (most important to get a good 3 point shooter)

    2) gets defensive rebounds under basket

    3) big enough to play post defense/block the baseline (not so important because- how many post centers are there in the league anyway?)

    there are guys like that in the league

    Mehmet Okur

    Troy Murphy

    Yi Jianlian (a bit thin to play good post defense but…)

    the guy knicks have rookie Harrelson is a good fit

    i don’t have time to name more guys…

    they need a center that shoots the 3 so the lane will not be clogged…

  2. youngyankee - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    so steve nash defended D’Antoni.

    well at least someone is playing that side of the ball.

  3. khadeemw - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    There is absolutely no way that Mike D’Antoni should be penalized for this poorly constructed roster. With the players we have there is no floor spacing, ball movement, and there are a lot of turnovers. There are a lot of ball stoppets and low IQ basketball players in the roster. Landry Fields doesnt have a role anymore, Shumpert isnt a true point guard, Chandler is only good for oops and defensive purposes, and the superstars aren’t good playmakers. Every good team needs a guy that consistently creates shots for themselves and others. Amare and Melo dont do that. Until this team puts together a real roster then D’ Antoni should be safe.

  4. nauhurdler - Jan 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Roster issue or not, his coaching philosophy has never equated to a championship…I loved the seven seconds or less era but everyone loves a championship more than a style of play

    • khadeemw - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      That may be true, but wherever he coached his style equated to more wins. This is the guy that took a team with Boris Diaw as his center to a conference finals series. Its hard to coach your way when the people upstairs give you talent that doesnt fit any system much less D’Antoni. Im a Knicks fan and I think firing D’Antoni would be the worst decision the franchise made since bringing Isiah Thomas aboard. But his firing is likely inevitable.

  5. dysraw1 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    yo i am sure the coach of the team has input on the roster, if I was the coach an some gm handed me a bunch of guys that didnt fit my style id have some beef. but then again we are talking about the man who said nothing when ownership told him to sit Marbury. as the coach you have to have what you need thats part of preparation. as the coach all you can do is be prepared.

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