Mike D’Antoni is leaving New York but he does not want to leave NBA coaching.
Which isn’t really a surprise but is confirmed in a story by Marc Berman in the New York Post.
But D’Antoni is not bitter he lost a power struggle with Anthony and hopes to coach next season, according to the person debriefed by D’Antoni.
“Mr. Dolan picked a different prom date,’’ the person said. “There will be other dances.’’
What the story really shows is how fit matters with coach and players but often gets overlooked by fans and even front offices. It’s not like Mike D’Antoni forgot how to coach on the plane ride from Phoenix to JFK, but the fit with players was never right in New York. His system worked with a veteran point guard who could make good decisions on the fly, it failed with the roster and personalities he was given in Madison Square Garden. D’Antoni would not change his system or who he was to fit the personnel given. He’s stubborn that way.
The Knicks have responded better to Mike Woodson’s louder, more disciplinarian style. They are 3-0.
(By the way, Knicks fans calling for Phil Jackson next year, know he is much more D’Antoni than Woodson is style. Just sayin’.)
Some team should hire D’Antoni next season. But that comes with a caveat — you have to get players that fit the system. If you hire D’Antoni, you have to get him a point guard who can run the offense, bigs who are strong in the pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop) and good shooters to space the floor. Don’t and he is not going to be a great fit, get him those things and you’ll win. But the GM and coach (and owner) need to be on board with building to a style, not just assembling pieces as was done by the Knicks.