After years and years of embarrassment, turmoil, scandal, and chaos, Donnie Walsh has done a great job cleaning Isiah Thomas' mess.
We knew that he would have to make drastic moves, many that I would disagree with, but ultimately had to be done.
It broke my heart when he traded Jamal Crawford, but he shed salary, which he needed to do for the future. The loss of Zach Randolph hurt as well, but again, more money off the cap along with ridding themselves of a locker room destroyer.
So many of the Knicks failures were because they refused to rebuild from the bottom up. Instead, they looked for the quick fix, trading away their youth for underachieving "almost there" talent. That is the exact way a franchise stays in mediocrity.
To think, Eddy Curry cost us the second pick in the draft, which equated to Tyrus Thomas, but there were plenty behind him. We traded Nene for an injured Antonio McDyess. There have been tons of other boneheaded moves.
After Isiah, I thought Walsh, being a New Yorker and all, would be able to choose a coach suitable for this team. I wanted Mark Jackson. They needed a knowledgeable, disciplinarian type coach who would instill toughness. Instead, much to everyone's surprise, he chose Mike D'Antoni.
I was immensely disappointed.
All I heard about him is what a great player and coach he was in the Italian league. Guess what, this ain't Italy and I'm unimpressed.
His so-called innovative speedball offense was supposed to revolutionize the game. In this league, defense and toughness is what wins championships, not offense.
How many championship teams won by trying to outscore their opponent instead of defend? None.
Hit the open man and shoot in seven seconds or less. What kind of strategy is that? Sounds like streetball to me; it's hardly rocket science.
He had great success in Phoenix, averaging around sixty wins over a four-year span. However, his Phoenix teams were always characterized as soft and were exposed on the defensive end, especially as they advanced farther.
How many finals appearances did Phoenix make during his tenure? Zero.
D'Antoni has done a great job putting positivity and enthusiasm back into the locker room, which are two things that have been missing since Stephon Marbury started acting up. He's a great coach for motivating players.
However, with a team like the Knicks, players have to be held accountable on the defensive end. Players have to be disciplined on offense, sticking to the strategy and executing. But if the strategy is seven seconds or less, that's a disaster waiting to happen.
The Knicks dont have the offensive tools and knowledge to run that kind of offense successfully. Forget about their defense, which is twice as bad and twice as disorganized as the Suns' was. I dont like the offensive freedom he gives them and the defense-second mentality he instills in them.
I dont like the influence he's having on Donnie Walsh either. Racking up offensively needy players with defensive deficiencies? Filling the roster with soft shooters? Is this the right thing to do?
Larry Hughes is notorious for outrageous shot selection. Al Harrington, who's improving, is another one who is offensively hungry. Picking up players like Darko Milicic and Sun Yue? I guess he's trying to get a worldwide roster like he had in Phoenix.
I wasn't a fan of them drafting Gallinari, but I do see potential and talent there. Only time will tell if he reaches that. Does he have the work ethic and desire to improve? We'll find out.
D'Antoni would be a good coach for a veteran team who was committed to defense. He's all wrong for the Knicks.
Maybe to change the negative culture and set a foundation, but not to coach for a championship. Defense wins championships, in EVERY sport. The seven seconds or less strategy will only get you the ninth seed or lower.
Oh well, us Knicks fans are used to it by now. Unfortunately.
In the end, we can at least be thankful that we're moving in the right direction for the first time in years.