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Mike D’Antoni

Los Angeles Lakers Summer 2013 Moves Preview

KOBEsh: In my mind, there’s three big issues heading into the Lakers offseason. In no particular order….

     
  1. Is Dwight Howard going to re-up for five years, $118 million?
  2. Is Mike D’Antoni going to be the coach next season?
  3. Is Pau Gasol going to be on the team next season?
  4.  

Those questions–not a silly Kobe amnesty conversation–are what’s taking up my mindspace after a devastating end to the regular season.
 
CDP, what’s the biggest storyline in your mind?
 
The CDP: I have to think, I have to assume that Dwight is re-upping. I was really hoping that he would play better without Kobe and win a game or two against the Spurs. It turns out that the Laker injury bug kept taking depth and Dwight may have had the worst supporting cast he’s ever seen during that series. Dwight was frustrated, imploded, and left the 2013 playoffs with a mouthful of unbelievable sour grapes. I have to think that the money, market, and potential to own LA after Kobe leaves will still be enough. I don’t really think he’d rather be in Dallas, Atlanta, Utah, or Houston. If he does leave, he never had the cajones to make it in LA anyway, and they’ll have $60M+ in cap room next off-season.
 
Your other two questions are much more interesting to me, especially since Cleveland re-hiring Mike Brown got the Lakers off the hook for his albatross of a contract. I guess the primary question is: what kind of mood are the Lakers in? Will there be pressure to reduce expenses, as there was inexplicably during the lockout – cutting long-time assistants, equipment managers, and valuable scouts? Or will the Lakers defiantly pay the $85M tax bill coming their way – neglecting to use the nuclear amnesty option.  At the moment, the Lakers owe D’Antoni 2 years and $8M and Pau Gasol another year with nearly $20M in salary cap commitments.… Read more...

What went wrong with the 2012-2013 Los Angeles lakers … coaches?

(“What went wrong this season?” is the question we get the most from fans at Silver Screen & Roll. The 2012-2013 team had championship expectations, but a convergence of worst case scenarios kicked down LA to the the fringes of playoff contention. In this post series, we’ll be taking a look at just what went wrong with each part of the Los Angeles Lakers this year, how it affected the organization and if this could be a problem going forward. Check out our examinations of the guards and big men from this past week.)
 
Mike Brown: 1-4 record (0-8 preseason)
 
Bernie Bickerstaff: 4-1 record
 
Mike D’Antoni: 40-32 (0-4 postseason)
 
What went wrong with the coaching?
 
The style of the coaches mismatched the personnel not once–but twice. Mike Brown, a dubious choice to continue his coaching tenure in this season, couldn’t get his team to believe in his system or play hard for him.
 
What was unarguably one of the worst seasons in franchise history was strangely bookended by the same beginning and ending: a winless season proceeded by an winless postseason. There’s no question that injuries are the primary cause here–when Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard miss a combined 149 games, there’s no team that can remain a contender through that type of storm
 
However, the problem is that even when healthy, the personnel never quite synched up with the coaching style of the team’s two skippers.
 
Mike Brown’s tenure felt doomed even before the season began. The 2010 Coach of the Year was already under fire for a problem that never stopped dogging him from his time with the Cavaliers: a lack of an offensive system. Most times, the floor would be dotted with 3 shooters with a big man in the paint, with LeBron James acting as a single pivot to essentially create scoring chances all by himself. Either the defenses would crash leaving an open shooter, or oftentimes James would have to make something out of nothing using his superior passing and ability to penetrate the interior. The Cavs were a plodding, methodical bunch, finishing 25th in pace for Brown’s last three seasons in Cleveland, despite having the league’s most explosive fast break player. Still, a lot of the criticism on Mike seemed unfounded, as the Cavs finished in the top 6 of offensive efficiency for those same three years.
 
In LA, the 2011-2012 season saw a lot of the same, simplistic and sometimes non-existent offensive schemes. In a move that seemed almost defiant in its construction, Brown hired former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan to implement a Princeton-style offense. The idea was that the system would create scoring opportunities more easily for players without the ability to create offense on their own. This complex scheme of backdoor screens, cuts and cross court movement was lost on the Lakers personnel, and seemed to marginalize the one-on-one excellence of Kobe Bryant, the pick and roll brilliance of PnR virtuoso Steve Nash and the dominant post-up play of Pau Gasol. The Lakers didn’t warm to the idea of the Princeton all throughout training camp, with players giving lukewarm reviews to a plan that seemed needlessly complicated considering all the natural offensive talent on the floor.
 
(Peep the rest after the break)

 

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Pau Gasol Trade Scenarios: Is It Even Possible?

(Doing some work for Silver Screen and Rollcheck it!)

At first there were whispers. And then, after a fashion, the whispers turned to chatter. The chatter soon turned into a dull roar and now we’re into a full-on, Kevin Garnett primal scream: trade Pau Gasol.
The 2011 2nd Team All-NBAer hasn’t helped matters much: since Mike D’Antoni took over, Pau is averaging 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, to go along with .388 shooting and a woeful 64% from the charity stripe. Those stats are fine if you’re Jason Kidd or Kurt Thomas–not so much when you’re the 9th highest-paid player in the league. Gasol’s numbers have followed a frightening trend from the end of the 2010 playoffs, in which the hardened, vengeance-driven warrior was one of the driving forces behind an epic Game 7 victory over the Celtics in the Finals (just…sit on that one for a minute Lakers fans. All be well).
However, as we’ve covered extensively on this blog, and even further than that in just about any comments section, the most glaring reason behind Pau trade whispers has been his shocking lack of energy on both ends of the floor. Whether it’s been the coaching changes, lack of managerial or fan support, system demands or perhaps just plain old injury, Gasol has lacked much of the aggression and effort Los Angeles fell in love with in 2008. He’s slow to rotate on pick and roll defense, as well as perimeter closeouts, and has been shockingly sedentary finishing around the rim offensively. More importantly, the Lakers aren’t winning. With the team sitting at 8-9, Pau’s play hasn’t been the main thrust behind an under-.500 record, but when the team is losing, everything is magnified and there’s going to be a scapegoat. Pau, for the moment, seems to be that guy.
The obvious solution here? The once unthinkable: trade Pau Gasol.The question is where? And for whom?
(Read on hereRead more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Mike D’Antoni to the Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers get: Mike D’Antoni

Mike D’Antoni gets: 3 years, $12 million (fourth year team option), a chance at redemption

Phil Jackson gets: A bowl of regret

Just three days removed from the last surprise development in LA, the Lakers decided not to hold back on the next one. The speculation throughout the weekend was that the recently fired Mike Brown would be replaced by 11-time NBA Champion head coach Phil Jackson. In the 11th hour, the front office shifted weight almost entirely the other way, it would seem, as they went out and signed former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. Whoa.

For many Lakers fans, myself included, we were waiting for an iPad and instead got a Nook Color. In the end, both could reach the same result, but ultimately you’re not getting the product you want.

There’s two seperate schools of thought on the hire right now, either round approval or damning criticism. D’Antoni has always been a polarizing figure in both of his head coaching stints and his time in LA won’t be any different. The biggest knock on MDA is his alleged indifference to defense, which was punctuated by the “Seven Seconds or Less” style and pace at which his Phoenix teams played. Led by current Laker Steve Nash, D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy counted on his squads getting up the floor as quick as possible, relying on his point guards propensity on the fast break and versatile wing players’ ability to finish at the rack or make long jumpers with no more than 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Essentially, they put up the rock as much as they could and let the defense sort itself out. Not exactly how Dr. Naismith wrote it up, but then again he used a peach basket for a hoop. And he was Canadian. Can’t trust him.

Whether you hated it or not, there’s no denying that the MDA Suns were one of the most exciting teams to come along in two decades of NBA basketball. They scored at a high rate and did so with style, leaving the viewer just as breathless as the athletes that raced up the court just in time to catch a perfect lob from the Nash’s hands. However, the price of such a highly touted scoring binge was seemingly the defense. Whether or not he actually stressed defense or spent any time coaching it during practices (which has been subject to much dispute), Mike’s squads have never been anything more than middling defensively. Here’s where MDA-led (full season) squads have ranked amongst the league in defensive efficiency, which is points per 100 possessions:

2004-2005 Phoenix Suns: 17th
2005-2006 Phoenix Suns: 16th
2006-2007 Phoenix Suns: 13th
2007-2008 Phoenix Suns: 16th
2008-2009 New York Knicks: 23rd
2009-2010 New York Knicks: 27th
2010-2011 New York Knicks: 22nd

Therein lies the problem. D’Antoni’s best teams, the 2004-2008 Suns, weren’t nearly as awful defensively as reputed. In fact, they were fairly overblown. Between Shawn Marion (a very able defender whose reputation precedes him–he’s never made an All-Defense team), Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson,  PHX had several capable defenders, so their transition defense was always much better than it had any right to be. The Suns regularly ranked in the top half of the league in fast break defense, with the low water mark of 14th in 2004-2005 and all the way up to 6th in 2006-2007. Mike D’Antoni had the horses to not only execute his famed Seven Seconds or Less offense, but also to run a corresponding defense. I… Read more...

State of the Garden: NOW HIRING!

How lucky are you guys! Two State of the Garden posts in a week!

As you may know, Mike D’Antoni has resigned from his job as head coach of YOUR New York Knickerbockers. He departs approximately half a year short of fulfilling his contract, signed in the summer of 2008.

It would be redundant for me to go over the myriad failures over the last 3 and a half seasons. But although that alone would not stop me from repeating said failures, it’s far better to look to the future. After all, we Knicks fans are accustomed to shielding our eyes from the present in hopes of tomorrow’s greener pastures.

This is a great moment for the franchise.

Let that sink in.

However, this obviously does not mean that all is well at Two Penn Plaza. The Bockers just barely fit the definition of a team, and the resignation of the brains behind the operation doesn’t change that. The Knicks don’t defend. They don’t rebound. And sometimes, they complete the trifecta by not being able to score, an inexplicable event for a squad “coached” by D’Antoni.

The heart of the matter lies behind closed doors, where, according to recent reports, there is a cancer spreading through the locker room like wildfire. Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony may not like each other. Anthony may prefer to be traded. I may want to kill myself. One could argue that with D’Antoni gone, these problems may only intensify, due to the fact that there is now one less scapegoat for the product displayed on the court.

So why is this a great moment for Knicks basketball?

Mike D’Antoni was signed to a fairly lucrative contract in ’08, lured by Dolan to bring the fast-paced offense from Phoenix to the Apple. D’Antoni’s tag-team partner was former general manager Donnie Walsh, known for assembling a would-be title contender in Indiana, were it not for that one night in Auburn Hills. In Walsh’s introductory press conference, Dolan gazed over at his new employees and said, “whatever it takes.”

Curry stole our happiness, in addition to the $50MM.

What happened after that was a slow-moving process to building a winner. D’Antoni did one hell of a job in Years 1 and 2, getting quality minutes from players who are currently clutching onto their NBA lives with a vice grip (see Duhon, Chris). He gave us an entertaining brand of basketball while Walsh cut the fat literally (Eddy Curry) and figuratively (Eddy Curry). All holdovers from the Isiah Thomas era, including Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, and Jamal Crawford, were shipped out to prepare for signing LeBron James. While the organization remained irrelevant in the eyes of its own city, die-hards like you and me patiently waited for July 1, 2010, the first day when the heralded free agent class could sign with new teams.

Bron Bron didn’t come, but Amar’e Stoudemire did. And while many people point to STAT’s history with D’Antoni in Phoenix, it was MDA’s ability to do more with less in Years 1 and 2 that cemented Stoudemire’s signature on a maximum contract to play in New York. After Stoudemire came Raymond Felton, the emergence of homegrown talent with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and finally Tyson Chandler. While Stoudemire deserves the lion’s share of the credit for making the Knicks a marquee attraction once again, D’Antoni’s contribution is not lost, even on a hater like me.

He still had to go, for all the reasons in my previous posts, like his unwil… Read more...

State of the Garden: Chicago Just Got Another Rebound

If I’m ever late for anything, there are plenty of things to which I can point the blame. Maybe it’s the extra 5 minutes in the shower. Maybe the traffic lights didn’t work in my favor or the subway decided it was convenient to run on the local tracks. But more likely, it’s probably that I didn’t care about being punctual.

Last night, YOUR New York Knickerbockers were outrebounded by the Chicago Bulls. That sentence isn’t that dramatic, until I tell you that the margin of glasswork was +18. That sentence has a touch of flavor, but I’ll take it a step further by telling you that the Bulls had 22 offensive boards compared to the Knicks’ 29 on the defensive end. So when Chicago was on offense, shooting an I-would-sign-up-for-this-everyday 43% from the field, they battled to a -7 deficit on the 57% of attempts that did not go through the net. On defense, a team has an easier time establishing the positioning required to grab more rebounds than the opposition. The vast majority of possessions will have most, if not all, defenders playing between their man and the basket, especially without the use of a zone defense.

Now let’s see: if the defender is between their man and the basket, the defender is closer to the hoop, and thus has the advantage of advancing the ancient basketball tradition of boxing out. In this scenario, it is embarrassing for a defense to yield a +7 advantage on the boards when they are protecting their own rim. So what happened?
There are plenty of reasons why the Knicks didn’t rebound the ball well last night:

1. They are not a good rebounding team

When the team signed Tyson Chandler, head coach Mike D’Antoni declared that the best frontcourt in the world played their home games at Madison Square Garden. Normally, when you think of an imposing front line, you think of big dudes who will take advantage of you whenever their size gives them such an opportunity.

Carmelo Anthony is 6’8″, 230 pounds.
Amar’e Stoudemire is 6’11” and weighs about 2.5 bills (although he’s listed at 260, he’s been doing extra work to get down to 245, in response to criticism that he has lost explosiveness).
Tyson Chandler is 7’1″, 240.

Big dudes. The three of them average a little less than 24 rebounds per game, and those numbers don’t exactly paint a picture of doom and gloom. But any seasoned fan will tell you that it’s just not enough, even before we witnessed Chicago’s dominance last night.

The best rebounder of the trio is undoubtedly Carmelo Anthony. I thought Anthony had a decent game last night. KOBEsh even texted me to say that sometimes, the man puts on a display that will convince you that he’s one of the best we have in this league (Hubie Brown voice). Melo’s aggressiveness on the offensive end leads to several opportunities for offensive putbacks, and his second jump differentiates his game from most of today’s player. I’m not going to complain about his rebounding.

STAT and Tyson just don’t box out. Ever. If you watched the scrums last night, you’d think that Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Carlos Boozer had cooties or something. It is beyond frustrating to witness. I can’t really explain Amar’e’s inability to get tough rebounds consistently, nor can I explain Tyson’s stubbornness to try and outjump his opponents without first trying to seal them off. The basics of boardwork are lost with these two guys, and while I love them for oth… Read more...

State of the Garden: Half Full or Half Empty?

After watching yesterday’s painful loss to the Boston Celtics, I realized that there are two different, but possible, reactions from the point of the view of a Bocker lifer. You’re either a glass half full optimist, or a glass half empty loser. And unless you jumped on the bandwagon when Jeremy Lin took the basketball world by storm, there are only these two possibilities. The die-hard Knicks fan has been through more than a decade of ineptitude, apathy, and lack of effort from top to bottom. This has emboldened him or her to exude more passion towards orange-and-blue than ever before. Again, unless you like your weather “fair,” there is no neutrality when it comes to backing the NBA team that plays at Madison Square Garden.

So which Knicks fan are you? And more importantly, do you know me well enough to place me in one of the categories?

GLASS HALF FULL
Just a few short years ago, the economy crippled a large population of Americans. People lost their jobs or were forced to take positions beneath their worth. Mortgage payments went unpaid, and foreclosure quickly reared its ugly head to those most vulnerable. Recent graduates of numerous universities displayed a diploma that became borderline valueless.
All of these things still hold true to this very day. But since the calendar turned more than two months ago, things have undoubtedly improved, regardless of where you stand ideologically. Though a gallon of gas deprives us of our soul, many of the statistics will tell you that we may be finally climbing out of the hole. So instead of focusing on how things went wrong, or why we’re not completely out of the woods yet, it’s more fruitful to celebrate that we’re doing better than we have in a long time.
It’s tough to complain about the 2012 version of the New York Knicks when every other version for the past 10 years taught the rest of the league, specifically from A-Z, how to NOT run a sports franchise. Yesterday, the road squad forced a good team into overtime. That good team features 3 guaranteed Hall of Famers and needed its All-Star point guard to produce a stat line that has been seen only TWICE in the history of the sport. Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the two superstars that have been catching verbal heat all season, played some of the most inspired ball we’ve seen in a long time. And not only that, the two did it without disrupting the flow of the spacing-fueled offense. The bench continued to shine, with Depth City’s reserves displaying toughness that is virtually unmatched by any second unit outside of Chicago or Miami.
And goodness, we can always remember the greatness that is Iman Shumpert:

Of course, Shumpty was rewarded for his posterization of Kevin Garnett with a technical foul, in one of the most ludicrous calls I’ve seen in years. If that is the basis for a tech, then Garnett himself, among many others, should receive one on just about every trip down the floor. Every single point counts in a close game that is decided in overtime. The fallacy of the pre-determined outcome prevents me from saying that this would have been the difference, but that call wasn’t the only example of the horrendous officiating yesterday afternoon:

The way that Garnett was allowed to unleash an assault and battery, and label it as a legal pick, makes you think that the referees were watching a different game. And if that’s going to happen, it’s tough to win, especially in a hostile, playoff-like environment.

Depth will win out in a condensed season. In

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3 Things Lost in Linsanity

“These Asians don’t even like basketball, and now they’re coming out of the woodworks!”

If I roll up to the Garden, or even a Bocker bar, I’ll hear some type of comment like that. All those hours I’ve spent having bad dreams about John Starks’ 2-for-18 performance in Game 7 of the 1994 Finals, rooting for Jeff Van Gundy as he hung onto Alonzo Mourning’s leg for dear life, and sitting in the exact same spot for every game of the 1999 run…gone. I’m basically just another slanty-eyed dude whose expected to bring a sign showing my ability to place the letter “L” in front of any syllable that sounds like “in.”

Of course, a 7-game winning streak makes it all worth it. Because deep down, my loyal Mambinites know that I dish and swish when it comes to dispensing hardwood smarts. And with that, I present to you guys, the 3 biggest things lost in the hullabaloo that is Linsanity.

Now, I’ll just admit it right here. This post can’t possibly be as thought-provoking or well-written as the epic masterpiece that my brother KOBEsh put out this past Saturday. So I reached out to the kid and asked him to give me an assist for this write-up.

The 3 biggest things lost in Linsanity are:

1. The Knicks NEEDED these wins.

KOBEsh: Just 13 days ago, the Knicks were 8-15 and out of the playoffs. They were trailing the Cavs and Bucks for the final playoff spot. To put this in perspective, this is a Knicks team that some overzealous fans and MAMBINO bloggers thought could even make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Instead, they were floundering worse than we ever could have imagined, just struggling to get the 8-seed.


After last night, their record stands at 15-15. This 7-game winning streak isn’t just a nice confluence of events surrounding Jeremy Lin’s unprecedented and meteoric rise. This was absolutely necessary to save a Knicks season from getting too far out of control.

2. Iman Shumpert, playing without the pressure of running the offense, is becoming the steal of the 2011 Draft.

I’ve been a Shumpert guy ever since the first preseason game. Picked 17th in the 1st round, the guy is built like a #1 Wide Receiver prototype, with the uncanny defensive reflexes of Darrelle Revis. But he’s not a natural point guard. After Toney Douglas struggled (I’ll get to him later), Mike D’Antoni turned to Shump. The rookie hit a brick wall, engaging in poor shot selection merely because he didn’t know when to shoot or when to pass. And when the losses started piling up, he became a little timid, losing confidence while manning up against high-caliber guards such as Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.

The Jeremy Lin Experience has taken everybody by storm, but it is Iman Shumpert who has settled into a role with the Knicks that best suits an inexperienced rookie. By playing off of Lin, Shump has saved plenty of energy to burn for the defensive end, culminating in Tuesday night’s jaw-dropping shakedown of Jose Calderon at mid-court.

Jeremy’s game-winning 3 propelled the Bocks to a huge comeback win. The Garden crowd that showed up for last night’s game against Sacramento showered Lin with praise, MVP chants, and pleas for D’Antoni to insert him into the 4th quarter of a blowout win (those pleas, among other things, make me understand why people call Asians out for not being real fans).

But without Shump’s defense, Jeremy might never had the chance to win it in the end. It’s an absolute TRAVESTY that thi… Read more...

State of the Garden: Linsanity

Karate punch!

A big reason why there are a few Mike D’Antoni supporters to this day was that the Knicks didn’t have an attacking point guard since Raymond Felton left town in the Carmelo Anthony trade. And after the past two games, MDA has a smile so big on his face, you’d think that Steve Nash had demanded a trade to the Apple. For the last half-week, all is good in Bocker Nation. Jeremy Lin has risen from 12th man to New York’s best quarterback.

(Kidding.)

(Kidding again.)

If you’ve read my stuff before, this is the part where I transition to telling you that things aren’t as happy-go-lucky as they appear. But let’s face the facts: I’m as Linsane as anybody else in these parts, if not moreso. (Can’t you see the resemblance?) Against the cross-town rival Nets, Lin came off the bench and legitimately outplayed superstar point guard Deron Williams, netting 25 points on 10-19 shooting, with 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 36 minutes. The minutes, points, assists, and rebounds were all career highs. Last night, the former Harvard standout eclipsed that performance in his first NBA start. When the Knicks won the jumpball, the crowd was silent…until Lin received the ball from Anthony. Standing O. As Mike Breen so eloquently put it, his spirit has lifted the team, the crowd, and the city (well, the non-Giants fans, who NEED uplifting.) 28 more points at a 10-17 clip, and 8 more assists, in 44 minutes = 3 new career highs.

The final number is the most important: 44 minutes. As I’ve mentioned before, these aren’t your average 44 minutes, where you can take a breather by hiding on defense or throwing some stand-still passes on offense. These are 44 minutes in a D’Antoni offense, as an attacking point guard, while guarding the opposing PG in this relatively new, no-hand-check era of NBA basketball. Anyone who watched the game on TV last night could see that, save for the momentary adrenaline rushes, Lin was dead tired by the 3rd quarter. And what happens when you get tired? You make mental errors. Lin eclipsed a 4th career statistic last night with 8 turnovers. While beating a decent Utah Jazz team with Amar’e grieving in Florida, Melo hurting his groin, and Tyson in foul trouble all night is nothing short of remarkable, it’s important to take a step back and see what the future holds for the New York Jeremy Lins.

The most wonderful part of this kid’s game is his astoundingly high basketball IQ. He doesn’t possess the athleticism of Iman Shumpert or Toney Douglas, nor does he possess the long-range capabilities of Anthony or Steve Novak (whose brilliant performance last night was overshadowed by the man of the hour). But he’s just so darn smart. He runs the pick and roll to near perfection, attacking the big man on a switch, throwing picture perfect lobs to the screener when the opposing guard gets lazy, and occasionally shows some flash by splitting traps and double teams. He keeps his head up, rarely picks up his dribble, and maintains his peripheral vision, 3 absolute musts for a point guard at any level. The common go-to is that he’s naturally smart because he attended Harvard. But as anyone from the great suburban town of Millburn knows, paying your way to Cambridge, Massachusetts because they want you to play sports for them is not the same as being as intellectually gifted as the rest of the student body (still love you DB). Lin is smart on the basketball court for reasons nobody can truly explain, because basketball IQ is part… Read more...

State of the Garden: How to NOT Fix the Knicks

It is fairly commonplace for the average New York resident to complain about the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Service is routinely delayed or shut down. Some stations are so filthy that they might as well be turned into homeless shelters (puddles are never just rainwater). And, if you missed it this past weekend, 4 people died on MTA property. All of these problems have been around ever since the first time we stepped foot on a subway train.

But these days, the MTA is dealing with a larger underlying issue that places those problems on the back burner. The fares they collect from you and me don’t cover enough of their operating expenses. And because of the economic downturn, both the city and New York State have reduced their support. That, in turn, has led to the MTA borrowing more money. The organization’s debt is over 30 BILLION dollars.

So, even if the MTA wanted to open up more lines for service, clean up every single station, and employ late-night security, they can’t. What they can do is hike up the fares: three times since 2008, to be exact. What they can do is lay off employees, the number of which has reached four digits. What they can do is take the necessary risk of making us upset, in order to give themselves a shot at fixing the problem.

YOUR New York Knickerbockers have problems of their own. For a decade, fans have complained about three things: poor shot selection, an inability to play team defense, and a propensity for off-court shenanigans to be the only newsworthy information involving the team. But in the Knicks’ case, while we moan, groan, and start “Let’s Go Giants” chants at the Garden, we have quietly accepted those problems because something was being done to fix our larger underlying issue: the existing remnants of the Isiah Thomas era.

I think we all thought that we had finally rid ourselves of the Isiah era when the team opened training camp this season. We cleared enough money by trading or releasing Isiah’s main guys: Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, David Lee, and Nate Robinson. We used our new-found cap space on impact players like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. And we surrounded them with cheap rotation players like Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis, Landry Fields, and Toney Douglas. But what we have failed to do is to find a coach that will succeed in today’s NBA game.

I have made my feelings about Mike D’Antoni clear to just about everyone, but even still, people continue to believe that MDA deserves a longer leash. They point to the poor field goal shooting, the costly turnovers, and the lockout, all things that D’Antoni cannot change on his own. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like the head coach has a say in Carmelo’s shooting percentage, Amar’e’s shot selection, or Toney Douglas’ turnovers. But in the past week, there were two quotes that have shed even more light on why the ‘Antoni era (again, there is no D) must come to a close.

“We need to make more shots.” -MDA, after a home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, the Knicks’ 5th straight loss

The quality of play has been mentioned in this space before. The lockout allowed players to live a life without mandatory practice times and team activities. It also delayed the opening of training camp and shortened the preseason. But while D’Antoni was barred from working in the presence of his players, he had all summer to create an offense which would best suit them.

The K… Read more...