Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lin and Davis agree with D'Antoni

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni says that the Knicks starters will likely see a decrease in minutes because of the strong play of bench players like Steve Novak. D’Antoni justified this by saying “Everybody's got to buy into playing less minutes and stepping up, not only offensively but defensively.” (more here)

These sentiments by D’Antoni were echoed by both Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis in separate press interviews. Lin said that Knicks just need to find “the right balance” in their lineup. Lin said the focus of the team is now about trying to be more efficient like they were last night. He thinks the key to getting wins might be a spreading the floor and using their depth to force the defense into making tough decisions. “Teams are going to have to choose what they want to be about,” explains Lin “what matchup they want to let beat them”

Baron Davis also seemed to agree with D’Antoni’s comments. When signed, Davis was expected to be the starting point guard.  Davis was hoped to be the saving grace of the team which was struggling early in the season. But the ascent of Jeremy Lin has relegated Davis to a role player since returning. Davis is not upset with this position. “However many minutes the team needs me to play,” says Davis “I want to be ready for when I’m called upon.”

D’Antoni has seemingly instituted a selfless philosophy for the team. ‘Do what you need to win’ is how he seems to look at every game. Some night some players will get more minutes, and some nights other players will see the floor more. Whatever needs to happen to get the win. Personal stats and ego are secondary.

Lin and Tyson Chandler might be key figures in the philosophical change. Lin has continually talked about how his role may change from night to night based on what the team needs from him. Chandler role seems to be just as important in shaping the team atmosphere. D’Antoni says Chandler’s “impact is on-off court.” D’Antoni believes that Chandler is a model teammate. “Whatever you need it’s all about the team,” says D’Antoni “if I ask him to set out for 39 straight minutes, he’ll sit and cheer and be the happiest guy on the floor.” Chandler attitude is how you win a championship according to D’Antoni. “He’s the one with the ring and that’s how you do it.”

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