Another loss, another loss to a bad team at home, another pathetic offensive performance, and more excuses. This has been the storyline for the Knicks early on this season. A season in which they had championship aspirations coming in. I have been very patient with the Knicks thus far this year and I am never one to call for a coach to get fired. However, enough is enough already! Mike D'Antoni is just not getting the job done right now. The worst part of it is that the Knicks are failing at what is supposed to be Mike D'Antoni's strength, OFFENSE! For years the Knicks have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league, yet, this year they have improved drastically on the defensive end and now they are struggling on offense? If someone would have told me that the Knicks would allow nearly 10 less points per game to their opponents, I would think they would have won the majority of their games and are being considered title contenders. This has obviously not been the case as the team has now dropped to an unimpressive 6-8 record. The main reason for this is clearly the offense. The Knicks offense right now is just terrible (and that is an understatement). I have seen better offense run at local gyms in pickup games. There is no flow, no movement, and way too much isolation. Carmelo Anthony (as talented as he is as a scorer) does not play well within the flow of an offense. He is a total ball stopper and he needs to be held accountable by coaches because that style and lack of discipline on the court will not get the team very far. Carmelo takes every single one of his teammates out of the flow on offense. This is becoming a huge problem that needs to be addressed.
So how do the Knicks address this problem? Well, I could take the high road and preach patience especially when Baron Davis is on the verge of joining the lineup which should certainly help. The only problem with doing that is the fact that this season is only 66 games. Time is of the essence for the team. The pressure is on Mike D'Antoni to get this team playing up to their ability. Sure the team lacks depth and the personnel is not characteristic of a D'Antoni led team. But there is enough talent on the Knicks to play better than they are playing right now. They are wasting good defensive efforts every game because of their inability to score. Any team with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire should not struggle to score. That is just unacceptable. It seems like their inefficiencies on the court are not even addressed which makes me wonder what they are focusing on when they watch film and practice. They are not moving the ball enough, not getting any dribble penetration from their guards to help create high percentage shots, and are allowing Carmelo Anthony to isolate whenever he wants. The coach needs to stress more discipline and make Carmelo buy into the system instead of trying to change it. Easier said than done as the team has far more invested in Carmelo than they do Mike D'Antoni, which brings up the question: Is D'Antoni the right coach to lead this team?
As an avid Knicks fan and one who watches all of their games without missing a play. I think that answer is no. Again, I hate to call for a coach to get fired and I also do not believe it is ever a good move to do that mid-season but it is the right move for the Knicks right now. His system clearly does not cater to the personnel that he currently has and he doesn't seem to have the answer right now. The team definitely has talent and needs a coach that preaches discipline and can implement an offense that focuses more on halfcourt sets. Who might that be? Jerry Sloan sure fits that bill, bring Jeff Van Gundy back, convince Phil Jackson to come out of retirement, or maybe allow Mike Woodson to take over and give him the rest of the season to audition and allow the Knicks to make a long term decision on a coach after this season. I don't see Mike D'Antoni turning this season around for the Knicks and I cannot be the only person who feels that way. I know many of you may think that I am just a typical Knicks fan who turns on them when things are not going well but the proof is in the pudding. A coach can only be given so much slack. The team is clearly not playing well and I have yet to see the coach make a positive adjustment from one game to the next. They continue to approach each game with the same plan and are continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again. Something needs to be done to give this team a spark. Maybe getting rid of the coach will light a fire under all of the players. It could possibly inspire them to play better. The bottom line is that if the Knicks do not see Mike D'Antoni as the right coach for this team, then they have little to lose by letting him go now as he is in the last season of his contract. The Knicks need to make a statement, and that statement is that this type of play is unacceptable and everyone should be held accountable. In this case Mike D'Antoni is going to have to be the one who is held accountable.