It seems so long ago now, but just two months ago, before anyone even knew who Jeremy Lin was, Knicks fans were calling for Mike D’Antoni’s job as the Knicks struggled to open the season. I even wrote an article about how awful D’Antoni had been, noting that he needs to start taking responsibility when the Knicks play poorly.
Well, nothing has changed on his part.
Yes, the Knicks started winning games, but that’s only because of the emergence of a true point guard in Jeremy Lin. D’Antoni really shouldn’t be given any credit for this. He did decide to play Lin in the first place, but it was just a last resort move since Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby couldn’t hit a shot if their lives depended on it and not because he anticipated Lin was going to break out like this.
The Knicks clearly have an immense amount of talent on their roster, but lack any sort of direction on the court. None of the players know what their specific role and responsibilities are. Just telling the team to run the fast break as much as possible and give the ball to Lin clearly isn’t cutting it.
Since Lin became the starting point guard, you can easily see he’s the one in charge of the offense, not D’Antoni. He calls all his own screens, deciding whether he wants Stoudemire or Chandler to come up and pick for him that play, or gets the ball to Carmelo Anthony to isolate his defender. Very rarely do you see any player set an off-the-ball screen or make a backdoor cut and D’Antoni has never said one word to the players to change that.
This style of play is just not working for the Knicks. A coach is supposed to produce a system that plays to his team’s strengths, not watch his team struggle to run the system he likes to use.
I really believe the Knicks need a new head coach who will discipline his players and build a system this team can succeed in if they want to have any chance at making a title run in the near future.