Mike D'Antoni

Report: D’Antoni’s job with Knicks safe. For now at least.


Apparently the Knicks are not planning to end the Mike D’Antoni era any time soon.

Then again, Flip Saunders got a direct vote of confidence from his owner just a couple weeks before the axe fell.

But as of right now, there are no plans to make a move — but D’Antoni’s fate could rest with Baron Davis, reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated. Which should make D’Antoni sick to his stomach.

But sources close to the situation say that D’Antoni is safe for now and the foreseeable future. Owner James Dolan is remaining patient, and D’Antoni, who is in the final year of his contract, will be given an opportunity to make the most of the Baron Davis experiment that is about to begin.

There are two schools of thought on D’Antoni. But both begin with one basic, indisputable fact — he has not been given the players to run his system. Knicks brass has traded away every decent point guard they had and saddled him with prolific but inefficient scorers like Carmelo Anthony.

One school of thought is that D’Antoni should adjust his system to the talent he has been given. We will call this the “most Knicks fans school of thought.” Especially those that want his head. Their argument is you coach what you are given and he should stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes, or ‘Melo into a point forward role. Those fans are ready for the Phil Jackson era (which is another story…).

The other school is the “you can’t blame the guy when you didn’t give him the right parts” theory. This is my school of thought. This would have been like the NFL’s Buccaneers hiring Chip Kelly out of Oregon then giving him some run-blocking offensive linemen and straight ahead runners but no quarterback of note. (Which would have been a very Tampa Bay thing to do.) You hire Kelly because of his system, you have to give him the pieces to make it work. You hired D’Antoni because of his success running “seven seconds or less” so give him players that fit the system, not inefficient ball stoppers.

Either way, clearly D’Antoni’s seat is getting hot. Baron Davis is not going to be the answer (he’s an answer, better than what they have, but not the answer). Whether or not he survives this season, and whether or not they bring him back next year, this is on the Knicks front office and owner James Dolan, not D’Antoni.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.