Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Melo, Dolan as much to blame as D'Antoni for Knicks' woes

Mike D'Antoni resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks this afternoon, escaping a horrible situation where he reportedly had lost the respect of the team. "Team," of course, means Carmelo Anthony, who clearly could not play in an offense that emphasized ball movement and accurate shooting. Monday's loss to the Bulls was the tip of the iceberg, with rumors flying since the final buzzer sounded that D'Antoni's days were numbered and even sparking rumors of Melo wanting to be traded.

Melo quickly denied rumors he wanted out. Instead, he wanted the coach gone and that's what he got.

D'Antoni's "resignation" was a force-out, pushed by the star player and an incompetent owner. The same owner who let Isiah Thomas have his way with the franchise and set the Knicks back a decade. The same owner who recruited Donnie Walsh to clean up the mess and then sent him packing right when things were turning around.

Sure, you have to blame the coach when you have a roster as talented as New York's and the team is six games below .500. In fairness, though, Dolan and company never gave D'Antoni the pieces to fit his system. The Knicks played their best this season with Carmelo Anthony out of the picture. Jeremy Lin could be D'Antoni's new Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire could be the old Amar'e, everyone was playing better without Anthony around to get pissed when he didn't get the ball and then suck the pace down into his vacuum when he did.

When you trade as much as the Knicks traded to get Carmelo, he has to stay. It's not as though he is a horrible player, or a cancer of the locker room, or anything like that. His style just didn't mesh with the head coach's. It is up to the coach to adjust to the players and make it work. But it is also up to the star player, once thought of as one of the best in the league, to adjust to the players around him.

Neither of those things were happening and it was a lot easier to part ways with the coach than the player.

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