Lakers-Knicks Offers Snapshot Of The D’Antoni Effect


Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, Jim Buss. In case you haven’t noticed your Lakers have regressed under head coach Mike D’Antoni while the New York Knicks are greatly improved without him.


While D’Antoni was in the New York the Knicks looked nothing like the team they are now. Those Knicks had no chemistry, played with no offensive rhythm despite D’Antoni’s supposed offensive genius and definitely had no clue when it came to defense.

Any of that sound familiar?

Since Mike Woodson took over the Knicks the team has completely changed. They’re now a true Eastern Conference contender and here is the real shocker…they’re actually playing defense…gasp!

The easy excuse was that D’Antoni didn’t have the proper point guard to run the show for him in NYC.

Does that also sound familiar?

This notion of waiting around for Steve Nash to save the day is beyond foolish. It’s pathetic. By no means should a head coach and his offensive system be so dependent upon one player. Unless that player is one of the NBA’s elite like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or even current MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony. Otherwise any coach with true championship mettle should be able to work with whatever talent he’s got to find a winning formula.

Under D’Antoni the collective basketball world looked at Carmelo Anthony as a selfish ballplayer that derailed New York’s aspirations. Funny how everyone is singing a different tune now that Woodson is running the show in D’Antoni’s absence.

What has changed in New York since D’Antoni departed?

Well, easiest and simplest answer s that D’Antoni leaving is what’s helped the Knicks improve. Certainly the addition of a rejuvenated Jason Kidd has helped. Obviously getting a coach that could get the most of his talent instead of forcing a square peg system into a round hole roster went a long way too.

Maybe D’Antoni bashing has become a fad in Los Angeles. Pretty much everyone is doing it while lamenting the botched handling of the Phil Jackson flirtation. So just consider this another brick in the wall.

Still, you can’t ignore what has happened in New York and what is going on in Lakerland. There is one common thread and if that’s not enough proof then just watch tonight to see what kind of an effort the Lakers give in Madison Square Garden. If ever there was a moment for D’Antoni’s Lakers to make a statement it’s tonight. If he can’t get the Laker motivated for this occasion then we’ll know all we need of this coach.