KNICKS LOOK TO PUT THE PAST BEHIND • Latino Sports

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KNICKS LOOK TO PUT THE PAST BEHIND

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Latino Sports’ new writer Andrew Rosario reflects on the NY Knicks new beginnings when he states that ‘after losing 59 games for the second time in a three years and not being able to blame Larry Brown again, James Dolan got rid of the only person he could and in the process killed two birds with one stone.’ New York – After losing 59 games for the second time in a three years and not being able to blame Larry Brown again, James Dolan got rid of the only person he could and in the process killed two birds with one stone.

First, Isiah Thomas is replaced by Donnie Walsh as President of Basketball Operations. Then, Walsh strips Thomas of his head coaching duties by hiring Mike D=Antoni and all the success he enjoyed with the Phoenix Suns.

D=Antoni had one thing in Phoenix that he will soon find he doesn’t=t have here: players! If you could revive Red Holtzman and get Red Auerbach to assist D=Antoni, the team that dresses at the World=s Most Famous Arena would still not make the playoffs.

Donnie Walsh introduced D=Antoni (although he pronounced his name [email protected]) as the 24th head coach in franchise history. Since it became apparent that D=Antoni would be the new head coach, every opinion has been offered as to why he was the wrong choice.

There has also been the varying opinion as to why he was the right choice but it=s all a moot point right now. Walsh, for whatever reason, decided that D=Antoni would be his man. Not Mark (No Experience) Jackson, not Avery (Mr. Defense) Johnson, not Scott (Hot Head) Skiles, not Rick (My Way or Fire Me) Carlisle and certainly not Herb (They won=t give me a legitimate shot) Williams.

Said Walsh, Aafter a long search that lasted over three weeks, I decided that Mike D=Antoni is the right fit to coach the New York Knicks as we build this team back to contention. Mike is a proven winner in this league with a long impressive coaching resume in the NBA and [email protected]

That is the one thing that cannot be disputed. In his 6 NBA seasons as head coach, D=Antoni has a .608 winning percentage (267-172) and was named coach of the year in the 2004-05 season. Phoenix won 54 or more games in each of the last 4 seasons in the powerhouse of the Western Conference. In the postseason, a place that has become foreign to the Knicks, D=Antoni has led the Suns to the Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006. His team was one horrible decision away by the NBA from getting to the Finals last year. Once again, look at the players he had in Phoenix and look at the players he has with the Knicks.

There is only one thing that is similar between D=Antoni and Thomas and that is the Million Dollar Smile as D=Antoni beamed throughout the press conference. First addressing the general media, and then doing one-on-one with TV and then the print media.

He knows he has his work cut out for him. He could have stayed in his comfort zone or gone to other teams where the talent level is considerably better. AI=m excited to get started,@ he began. AI know the job that has to get done and with Donnie we=ll get it [email protected] He quickly shot down the notion that this was the wrong job for him. AHaving Donnie on my side was a big asset. I can adjust to styles. This is about the players and the team that you have and how to win. “That=s what we’re going to try to [email protected]

Three current members of the Knicks, Quentin Richardson, Nate Robinson and Stephon Marbury were on hand to welcome D=Antoni. Richardson and Marbury played for him in Phoenix. It would surprise no one if none of them were on the roster when training camp opens. Marbury, who wishes he could forget the last three years, went out of his way to hug both his new coach and president. Both Walsh and D=Antoni did not make the mistake Thomas made when he said Marbury was [email protected]

First Walsh: AHe=s our player. As one of our players we love him. This is a business. I can=t give you any blanket statement that anybody is going to be, or won=t be here. Am I out there actively shopping anybody? [email protected]

D=Antoni thinks Marbury can still be a productive force in the league. ASteph is a very talented basketball player that needs to be put in certain situations and he has strengths we need to play to and try to maximize. We have to get him to be able perform to the highest level that he [email protected] These were words of caution from one, and words encouragement from the other.

Meanwhile, Marbury acted like he would get a second chance with D=Antoni and looked forward to the upbeat tempo of the offense. AI like to play basketball,@ he started. AI like to play up and down the court being able to make moves, get back on defense. If they score, get it right back down and go back at them. That=s my style of play,@ he concluded.

The New York Knicks style of play when they were competitive and making the playoffs for 14 straight years was nothing like the style Mike D=Antoni will try and get them to play. None of the current players were part of those winning teams. They never showed they could play that style anyway. Let=s see if they can play a style the new coach will bring in. Or will it just be another 59 loss season.

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