Mike D’Antoni considers his time as the New York Knicks coach a success. His resignation came as no surprise to many, but it was submitted for reasons other than the Knicks’ poor record and mismanagement of star players. Currently eighth in the Eastern Conference at 18-24, it was a specific trait his squad lacked that drove D’Antoni to leave his post.
“While we certainly would have made the playoffs this year, it hit me that we didn’t play defense like previous NBA champions,” D’Antoni said. “We actually didn’t play defense at all, and that was my fault.”
The plan now for the Italian-American dual citizen is to take a sabbatical in Italy where he used to play and coach. From there, he’ll form defensive schemes based on the basketball he sees in Serie A and use it to form a defensive philosophy upon his return to the U.S.A.
“When I coached the Suns and Knicks I had one big fault,” D’Antoni recollected. “I lived vicariously through those men, as if I was back in my playing days in Italy. I just wanted to see free-flowing basketball.”
Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire wishes his former coach well, but has his doubts over D’Antoni’s mission to discover defense.
“Coach D preached about a great offense being the best defense,” Stoudemire said. “I’m sure when he gets back, he’ll feel the same way.”
After having paid back the remainder of his Harvard student loans, Jeremy Lin has promised to pay back Mike D’Antoni.
“I owe my whole career to him,” stated Lin.