There's Nothing Mike D'Antoni Won't Try

A Monday shootaround is latest attempt to halt the losing streak

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011  |  Updated 11:38 AM EDT
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Knicks Coach Tries Everything

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Mike D'Antoni

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You can't accuse Mike D'Antoni of sitting back and watching while his ship runs into an iceberg.

The Knicks coach is trying anything and everything to spark his team and snap them out of the nose dive that's seen them lose nine of their last 10 games.

His latest attempt is a shootaround on Monday before the Knicks host the Magic, something they haven't done before a home game in the last two years.

It's hard to find much argument with that decision.

Doing any kind of work on the game, even the modest amount involved in a shootaround, is preferable to sitting back and hoping everything sorts itself out once you get back on the court.

That said, it's also hard to see how this is going to be the thing that snaps the Knicks back to life because nothing seems capable of doing that.

Just look at how much D'Antoni has tried in the last 10 games.

He's benched Landry Fields and gone to a two point guard look for long stretches in almost every game. He's alternated between starting Shelden Williams, using him as a key reserve and not playing him at all.

Jared Jeffries, Ronny Turiaf and Shawne Williams have all appeared in the starting five and taken turns trying to stop the big men on opposing teams.

The coach even tried Anthony Carter in the fourth quarter on Saturday night against the Bobcats which makes us wonder if even Eddy Curry would have gotten a look if he was still in town. 

None of it has worked because none of it begins to address the major problem with the team.

It's tempting to focus on the offense for the losing jag because of D'Antoni's history and the tempting twosome of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. While it has been alarming to see how little life has improved for Stoudemire since Anthony arrived, the offense isn't the issue.

Regardless of who is on the floor, the team's defense is atrocious and the opposition scores without breaking much of a sweat.

That raises the pressure on the offense to a ridiculous level as every missed shot leaves you feeling like the Knicks are falling deeper into the abyss.

The idea that this will be fixed in the next nine games or in the playoffs is laughable, assuming, of course, that watching the Knicks has left you with any capacity to laugh. 

D'Antoni's fixes are all just different grasps at the same straw, then. There's not much else you could expect him to do at this point, although all of the flailing makes the situation feel more desperate with every passing day.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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