New York Knicks 2011: 4 Reasons Jeff Van Gundy Should Replace Mike D'Antoni

Matthew WolfeCorrespondent IIIJuly 11, 2011

New York Knicks 2011: 4 Reasons Jeff Van Gundy Should Replace Mike D'Antoni

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    Yes, Mike D’Antoni did lead the Knicks to their first winning season since 2000-2001, but he is still on the hot seat according to many.  An above .500 record and a playoff berth doesn’t always cut it in the Big Apple. 

    After bringing in superstars Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the expectations are high for the Knickerbockers, who earned the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference this past season. 

    New York is not an easy place to coach.  Just ask Isiah Thomas, Larry Brown, or Lenny Wilkins.  All of these coaches had winning percentages under .500 during their time with the Knicks, with only one playoff birth between them (a four-game sweep courtesy of the New Jersey Nets in 2004-2005). 

    While it can be argued that Mike D’Antoni coached the Knicks to an above-.500 record this season and a playoff birth, there are still the doubters that believe his coaching style will never win a championship. 

    To find the last Knick coach with an overall record above .500 with the team, fans would have to look back to the 2000-2001 season, when coach Jeff Van Gundy was manning the bench.

    Van Gundy took over for coaching great Don Nelson in March of the 1996 season, and finished his tenure with the Knicks in 2001.  During that time, he coached a total of 69 NBA Playoff games, 61 more than the Knicks have played since his departure.

    Although he has not been vocal about wanting to return to the bench, Knicks fans can still speculate about what it would be like if he did.

    So, for arguments sake, here are 4 reasons why Jeff Van Gundy should replace Mike D’Antoni as the coach of the New York Knicks.      

He Is Defensive Minded

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    The main thing that most fans don’t like about D’Antoni’s coaching style is that it lacks defense.  The Knicks gave up an average of 105.7 PPG to opponents this season, tied for third worst in the NBA. 

    Van Gundy, on the other hand, was known as a defensive coach.

    He is a strong believer that defense wins championships, and served as an assistant to Pat Riley in the 90’s when the Knicks were one of the best defensive teams around.

    Just think, what would the Knicks be like if Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were productive on both sides of the ball?

He Is Well Respected

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    He may be small, but don’t let his size fool you.

    When dealing with one of the youngest teams in the league, and two premier superstars, you need a coach that can lay down the law.

    It is hard not to respect a guy that brought a No. 8 seed to the NBA Finals.

    Van Gundy has been around the block, and knows how to deal with superstar talent (Patrick Ewing, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming).

    Having a guy that has been they’re running the show could be extremely beneficial to the young talent on the Knicks team.

He Is a Fan Favorite

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    Is there anything better than the sound of Madison Square Garden, the best arena in sports, when the Knicks are victorious?

    Sure, it can be debated, but any Knick fan will argue that ‘til the day they die.  And what Knick fan wouldn’t like having Jeff Van Gundy behind the bench?

    Van Gundy could bring back the energy to the Garden, the energy it has been lacking since he departed way back when.

    Just check out that video.

Mark Jackson Is Gone

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    With Mark Jackson leaving to vacate the Golden State Warriors coaching position, Van Gundy is left without his partner in crime on ESPN.

    Jackson, a former player of Van Gundy’s, had made it very vocal that he wanted a coaching position.

    Van Gundy has not been nearly as vocal, but could the loss of his colleague change his thoughts?  Knick fans can only hope.