Knicks fans may think a change in coach is long past due, what with the 9-15 record in a season that held so much promise, but Knicks management continues to be patient. For once.
Echoing other reports from inside the team over the past month, Newsday reports that Mike D’Antoni’s job is safe. For now.
A league source said D’Antoni isn’t in danger of losing his job. If the losing continues, however, that could change.
The coach himself said he is not worried about what happens.
“It doesn’t do anything for me,” D’Antoni said. “If I do my job well, then things will be good. If we don’t win, it will happen. I’m not worried one way or another, to be honest with you. I know, it’s kind of, ‘Yeah, right.’ That’s one good thing about being 60 years old. You don’t have to worry too much.”
There are things on the horizon that could help D’Antoni and the Knicks. One is Baron Davis, who still is battling a back issues but could join the team in the coming weeks and give them the true point guard they need to run D’Antoni’s system. (Davis is not the answer, but he’s better than what they’ve got.) The Knicks also will be in the running or J.R. Smith when his season ends in China, and he would bring needed perimeter scoring and shooting. (But Smith is also a ball stopping gunner, something the Knicks really don’t need.)
As we’ve said before, the Knicks front office needs to take a lot of the blame for the 9-15 start to the season — they hired D’Antoni to run the “seven seconds or less” offense then never gave him payers that would fit that style. Why hire D’Antoni if you’re not going to give him players that fit his system?
But D’Antoni is not blameless. He’s been stubborn when he needs to adjust his system — you have to coach the roster you have, not the one you wish you had. So far there not has been enough of that.
If tomorrow the Knicks fired D’Antoni things would not instantly get better (unless you’re a giant Mike Woodson fan). No reason to hit the panic button now.
But if the Knicks continue on their current path and miss the playoffs, D’Antoni’s job security will be nonexistent.