D’Antoni’s Shortcomings Exposed

by Eddie Mayrose

Was actually encouraged by the way the New York Knicks started the season.  Not that I had any expectations about a championship or even a playoff appearance, for that matter. Rather, I was just happy that the roster was now populated with players that I could actually root for; a stark contrast to the band of miscreants that wore the uniform over the course of Isiah Thomas’ reign of error.  Gone were Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson and Jerome James, replaced by hard-working players like Toney Douglas and Ronny Turiaf, not to mention A’mare Stoudamire,the biggest talent to hit the Garden floor in a long time.  However, my optimism was dashed very quickly last week after I sat through Knicks-Warriors.

In a display of basketball that would give a men’s over-40 league a bad name, the defenseless home team surrendered the whopping total of 74 points in the paint; a total you wouldn’t expect if Golden State were playing in an empty gym.  The Knicks complete inability to get a stop at any point in the game, coupled with their relentless brickfest from behind the three point arc made it abundantly clear as to the real problem at MSG: Mike D’Antoni.

Brought in as what was supposed to be a lure for LeBron James, D’Antoni received a free pass over his first two seasons as Donnie Walsh rid the team of the terrible contracts that were Isiah’s legacy. Forced to go to battle with a band of selfish misfits, D’Antoni was rarely held accountable for the team’s poor performance.  Now, however, with a team that is much improved, we’re seeing the results of the coach’s “offense first and always” philosophy.  Looks like it’ll be another quite spring on 32nd and 7th.

New York Jets On a Roll

After becoming the first team in NFL history to win two consecutive road games in overtime, it seems as though the Jets may have finally stumbled on to a winning formula: Spread as many former Jets across the rosters of their opponents and wait for them to act as if they were still in the Meadowlands.

Each of Gang Green’s last four wins has been a nail-biter that was in doubt until the final gun.  In  the first, old friend Brett Favre, gearing up for a game winning drive, instead threw an interception that Dwight Lowery returned for a game clinching score.  Then, on Sunday, former Jet receiver Chansi Stuckey fumbled away an opportunity for a game winning field goal before Eric Mangini mismanaged the clock and gift wrapped one final scoring opportunity for Mark sanchez.

Don’t know how the rest of the season will pan out for Big Rexy and his boys, but, as long as there’s an ex-Jet on the other sideline, maybe they have a chance.

Jeter Contract No Walk in the Park

Got a good laugh from Yankee fans this week; indignant at the thought of Derek Jeter having to go through the same process of negotiating a contract that everyone else is forced to endure.  Many feel that GM Brian Cashman should issue a blank check for Jeter to sign as an homage to his career accomplishments.  A nice thought, sure, but a very stupid thing for Cashman to do.  I wonder how many of those same fans would be interested in signing an aging shortstop with little pop, a weak arm, limited range and coming off of the worst offensive season of his career.  The fact of the matter is that Jeter will be overpaid at any price as there is no market for him anywhere else in Major League Baseball.  That he’ll likely be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million dollars for three years is incredibly generous.  Think about that, Bomber backers, when your boy is 38 and you’re complaining about the pitching staff .

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