For the past few weeks, Danilo Gallinari has faded away — he is scoring 5 fewer points a game, hitting far fewer of the shots he’s taking and generally seeming like he is back in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano.
Mike D’Antoni has seen this before — from Darko Milicic.
“The rookie wall? Did he hit it?” D’Antoni said. “I don’ know. I don’t believe too much on that stuff. Obviously he’s got to turn his motor up. You have to be emotionally invested in the team or otherwise your game suffers. This game is too hard.”
D’Antoni’s rap on Gallinari didn’t sound all too different than his final evaluation of Darko Milicic, who was traded one week ago to Minnesota. The 7-1 Darko has averaged 18 minutes in three games for the Wolves, including an eight-point and eight-board outing in his debut.
It’s not just Gallinari, the entire Knicks roster has taken a mid-season mental vacation. The trade for cap space, er, Tracy McGrady didn’t help as this team is essentially David Lee and the experiments. It’s why Bill Walker suddenly looks so good — he is playing with passion.
D’Antoni needs to find a way to get his team to respond the same way the Wizards have to the trade deadline. To play with some pride, if not for the team then for the future of their professional careers. So he goes to the media. Phil Jackson has gotten results through the years smacking players through the media. It’s worth a shot. The Knicks are not going to get worse.