Updated: January 7, 2010, 2:49 PM ET

Fastbreak's NBA Power Rankings

The D'Antoni Rules In New York

By Mike Kurylo
TrueHoop Network
Villanueva
D'Antoni

The rotation is short

This is a well-known characteristic of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. The Knicks employed 11 players in a blowout win against Indiana, which is rare for him. The last time D'Antoni went into double digits was Dec. 2 in Orlando. In between those two games, D'Antoni used eight players every game (including 11 straight) except for two contests, in which nine players saw the floor. Factor in that the No. 8 guy usually doesn't see a lot of minutes, and it's essentially a seven-man rotation. For instance, Eddy Curry saw "action" in three of those games, but he didn't play more than seven minutes. D'Antoni's rotation is much like what you'd expect from a playoff team. The best guys (according to him) get the lion's share of the minutes, a few other guys come in for breathers, and everyone else has front-row seats to an NBA game.

You're either in or you're out

There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground with D'Antoni. The Knicks' coach has stated that he doesn't like to put veterans in for spot minutes, preferring to keep them on the bench instead of bringing them in cold. He has repeated this frequently, especially when asked about bringing in a non-rotation player for offensive or defensive purposes in a single critical possession. Chances are, if a player is seeing minutes, he'll continue to get court time. And the converse is true, as well.

Injuries don't constitute succession

This was apparent last season when the Knicks were short on guards after the Jamal Crawford trade, Cuttino Mobley injury and Stephon Marbury refusal. Instead of going to the next guy on the bench like most coaches would, D'Antoni ignored Anthony Roberson. New York rode Chris Duhon into the hardwood and even went guard-less at times rather than turn to someone on the end of the pine. So if a player thinks an injury means Coach D will be forced to insert him into the game, he's misguided.

If you're suddenly out of the rotation, don't expect a greeting card

Granted, this is a leap for yours truly to state, because I'm not omnipresent in the team locker room. However, Larry Hughes was quoted as saying: "There's nothing wrong with voicing an opinion because they're not facts. It's what you're thinking and how you're feeling. Just to have communication, I think, goes a long way in this league."

This isn't the first time a player (or Hughes, for that matter) has been unhappy with a lack of playing time and went public about it. However, in this case, it seems that Hughes isn't just lashing out because of spite. Compare this to Darko Milicic's rant on NBA coaches, and Hughes' request seems downright reasonable. But it doesn't appear that D'Antoni communicates his lineup changes to his players.

Read the rest of Kurylo's post at KnickerBlogger.net, part of the TrueHoop Network

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?