Mike D’Antoni is Happy that Amar’e Stoudemire is Finally Learning Defense

by January 04, 2013

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni took Amar’e Stoudemire’s claims that he never learned anything about defense under his tutelage in stride. D’Antoni told the press that he’s happy for STAT that he’s finally learning how to defend the opposition. Per the NY Times: “Mike D’Antoni was surprised that Amar’e Stoudemire would claim that he was not taught how to play good defense until Mike Woodson became his coach last year. Rather than taking offense at Stoudemire’s observation, D’Antoni, who coached him for eight seasons with the Suns and the Knicks, congratulated him on his new attitude. ‘I think it’s great,’ D’Antoni said Thursday after the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice. ‘I think it’s great that he’s listening. He might have forgotten that Mike Woodson was also running the defense the last year I was there, so I don’t know if he just didn’t pick that year to listen. But Amar’e’s great. Sometimes you say things, but hopefully, that’s another step he can take forward and help his game. That would be great.’ Before the Knicks faced the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, Woodson said he believed he had become a better all-around coach. ‘I’m not the best defensive coach, but I feel good about putting defensive schemes together,’ he said. Woodson also said Stoudemire, who made his season debut Tuesday, still had a lot to learn about his defensive strategies. When asked about Stoudemire’s comments — and his confidence in him to make him a better defensive-minded player — he responded with a humble comment. Woodson said: ‘If that’s how he feels, he feels that way. Again, I think Mike D’Antoni is a great coach. I think it’s tough for every coach in the league. I have a great deal of respect for all the coaches.'”