Mike D’Antoni Forced to Change His Offense to Fit Stars

by March 04, 2011
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The arrival of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York means that Mike D’Antoni’s infamous “Seven Seconds or Less” offense is now a thing of the distant past. From the NY Times: “The accommodating tone is in contrast to the caricature of D’Antoni that has emerged over the years — as a stubborn, all-offense, no-defense, small-ball coach who refused to adapt to personnel. The portrait was skewed, but it always contained some elements of truth. D’Antoni enjoys nothing more than disproving skeptics and winning unconventionally. He is also, however, a devout realist. Which bring us to Anthony and Billups … Concessions are being made, as D’Antoni bluntly noted before the Knicks’ victory Wednesday night over the New Orleans Hornets. ‘We’re always going to be a little bit of an iso, one-on-one kind of a team, which, to be honest with you, is pretty good,’ D’Antoni said, a declaration that would have made jaws drop in Phoenix. He followed with some important qualifiers: that the Knicks cannot ‘totally fall into’ a one-on-one game, that the ball still needs to move, that the floor should be spaced and that the scoring should be shared. D’Antoni is bending his principles, but he is not about to shatter them. ‘I think we’ll meet some place halfway in between,’ he said Thursday, ‘because we don’t want to lose what Melo and those guys do the best. A lot of it is going one-on-one. They’re the best in the league at it.’ Yet the reins are clearly looser now. In five games with Anthony, the Knicks have averaged 17.6 isolation plays per game — 3.1 more than they did before his arrival — and 7.4 post-ups per game, an increase of 2 per game, according to an analysis by Synergy Sports Technology. Those two categories now make up 23 percent of the Knicks’ offense, up from 18.5 percent. The Knicks are also taking more spot-up jumpers and fewer shots via pick-and-roll plays, according to Synergy. The offense is now dominated by the Big Three: Anthony, Stoudemire and Billups are averaging at least 20 points each and combining for 69 percent of the Knicks’ offense.”