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D’Antoni Speaks: Training Camp Preview

Posted By Jordan Lauterbach On Sep 23 2010 @ 12:57 am In New York Knicks | No Comments

With two days until training camp, the Knicks talk in the local media has heated up again. Mike D’antoni was on with Mike Francesca on WFAN in New York yesterday. Here’s some of what he said….

 On what Knick fans can expect:  “We’ve really upped our athleticism. We’re going to be a much more exciting, faster, and hopefully a better team…we have to see how the chemistry goes….we can be an exciting young team”

 On Amar’e Stoudemire: “I think he’ll score a bunch of points. We used him a lot in Pheonix obviously with Steve Nash and I think he and Raymond Felton can develop a lot of the same chemistry…but Amar’e was always able to get his own shot, we just went to the pick and roll a lot because that was the best thing we did as a team but he doesn’t have a lot of trouble scoring other ways…He’s probably the best finisher in the league”

 On Stoudemire and Gallinari as a tandem: “I think they can compliment each other very well. Gallo needs to expand the boundaries of his game, which he will by posting up. But his ability at 6’11 to hit shots will open it up and keep it open for Amar’e. His (Amar’e) ability to attract attention will help Gallo so they should be able to play off each other very well.”

 On guys playing multiple positions: “I think that’s one of the strengths of our team. One is numbers. We have a lot of guys that can contribute. The other is (the ability) to play multiple positions. We can be one of the tallest teams in the league at times and we go small and go quick. Anthony Randolph is a 6’11 guy who’s one of the fastest guys in the league. So the ability is there, the athleticism is there, now it’s just a matter of chemistry…”

 On Wilson Chandler starting at the 2: “He can guard 2’s. We had him guarding 2’s a lot last year…Galanari can also guard a 2. There really wings, the two and the three aren’t really that different….We’re going to have to expand his game. Before he got shut down last year, he started doing some pick and rolls where he handled the ball and made some good plays. So we hope that part of his game keeps developing and we’ll find some place to put him.

 On Azubuike’s health (recovering from knee surgery): “It’s going to be a while. He should go slow… make sure he’s 100%. . It’s a delicate injury that he has….if anybody can make it back; he’ll make it back quicker then anybody. There’s no time table with him right now

 On what has to happen for this group to surprise people: “I think a chemistry has to develop between Raymond and Amar’e…. everybody has to stay healthy, which means mostly Amar’e has to stay healthy….The young guys (Randolph, Gallo, Chandler, Douglas) who we think will be good, with time, if they do so sooner then later, we’ll be better quicker…..

 On Timothy Mozgov: He’s 7’1, 270 and can run like a deer. He’s great at running the floor, picking and rolling. He’s great at catching the ball and finishing. That’s kind of all we need….what he does complements the other players very well…very strong, very athletic…

 On point guards in “the D’Antoni system”: “I think any good point guard can play in any system. I think that’s the key to a really good basketball team, when you have a really good point guard.  Raymond, I’m from his area, my brother coached him in AAU ball and they play the way we play. He’s from North Carolina and they kind of push it up and down, so he already wants to play that way and knows how to play that way. It should be a nice fit….I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t take to it quickly, develop chemistry with Amar’e and get this team going”

 On point guard minutes: “I don’t like people to go over 35. Now, that changes on the type of body you have and age and all that….He (Raymond Felton) can play 40, I think. I think Toney Douglas has proven he can play some. So, I’m excited about him and he can help Raymond and they can play together some. Raymond is strong enough to guard 2’s, so we have a lot of spots open….Toney has really worked hard this summer, he’s improved.”  

 On Eddy Curry: “(audible sigh) It’s hard to say because we haven’t seen him in three or four months, so I have no idea. Hopefully he’ll come in shape, it’s to his benefit that he does. We have camp opening up on Saturday and people will compete for time and nothing is written in stone and nothing is out of the realm of possibility and we’ll see what happens….I don’t think there’s a disconnect. We tried everything to get Eddy in the best shape and in the best possible position to play. It has not worked out in the past because of injuries, but that’s too bad. We have a team that Donnie put together with a lot of people that play a lot of positions, so we’re covered no matter what happens…He didn’t have to come in and he didn’t take the opportunity to do it.”

 Sidebar: Remember in June when D’Antoni was speaking so highly of Eddy Curry? Clearly that was one of two things – either a safe quote to protect against the rumor that Curry was telling Lebron James not to come to the Knicks or one final plea for Curry to show interest in being a consistent contributor and finally get in shape. One thing it wasn’t? Truth….but we knew that.

  A final thought on what Knick fans can expect this season: “I think they can look forward to seeing a team develop and go to the Garden and be entertained. I think with Amar’e and different types of athletic people on the floor, it’s going to be exciting. Hopefully, we’re going to be better sooner then later. We’ll be a team that will develop and our young guys will get a lot better and it’ll be a team they can root for, and have fun in the Garden.” 

 Sidebar: Doesn’t this sound a little bit too much like what a coach says before a “rebuilding season”? Sorry Mike, that portion of your Knick tenure is over. If this team intends to continue to rebuild, he better hope they find a way to stumble into an 8th seed. No playoffs = interview shoes for Mike. I don’t see anyway he misses the playoffs and keeps his job.  

 -          D’ Antoni also said that he thinks Miami or LA could win 68, 69 games, if they stay healthy.

 Sidebar: I agree. Face it folks, Miami will win titles. Multiple titles.

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