Thursday, June 17, 2010
Is the New York Knicks’ Mike D’Antoni the Dream Coach for Lebron James?
The Cavaliers must be panicking now that Tom Izzo has decided to stay at Michigan State, declining the Cavaliers’ $6 million per year offer to become the team’s new head coach.
LeBron James’s failure to speak with Izzo in the first place can only add to the Cavaliers’ concern.
Izzo is a world class coach at the college level who would have provided the Cavs with some desperately needed stability after they fired LeBron-favorite Mike Brown.
Unfortunately for them, of course, the Cavs are now living in a world full of uncertainty with no head coach.
They also run the risk of losing the best basketball player in the world.
Having no top-notch coach, let alone any coach at all, only increases the chances of James leaving for a destination with a good coach and more stability than the Cavs currently offer him.
As the speculation continues to mount, the Knicks should be asking themselves, is Mike D’Antoni Lebron James’ dream coach?
The answer could very well be yes. The Knicks have been strategically preparing for July 1, 2010 for two years now, starting with the hiring of its coach.
D’Antoni is a gifted offensive mind, truly the ultimate player’s coach. His high octane offensive teams in Phoenix averaged 58 wins over four seasons, with a very simple core philosophy -- shoot early and often.
It may appear improbable that with everything LeBron James has accomplished offensively, he has been held back. Sadly, however, it’s true. Mike Brown’s offense was slow, mundane and boring.
Under D’Antoni, James would be completely unleashed. Perhaps the best finisher in the game, his strength and quickness could make him unstoppable in an offense that thrives in transition.
Although D’Antoni’s offense is commonly known to run through a good point guard (the Chris Duhon experiment simply did not work out), James could certainly fill that role too.
Many analysts claim his best attribute is his passing ability. It’s hard to argue. A true amazement on offense, Lebron is a phenomenal playmaker that recognizes mismatches and can get the ball to the right guy at the right time. The proof is evident in a player like Mo Williams’ development.
The offense could completely be run through Lebron, whether the end result is creating his own shot, driving to the basket, or finding an open teammate. LeBron can do it all.
For comparison, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson come to mind.
In the right system, he can certainly be that type of player and build that type of legacy.
Even though his team faltered, LeBron proved in the playoffs, and even in the regular season for that matter, that he is on the cusp of averaging a triple-double.
While never having coached quite a player like that, if there was any coach who could help LeBron accomplish that feat, it would be D’Antoni.
D’Antoni certainly gives the Knicks an advantage this summer, having coached many of this summer’s top free agent prizes before in the Olympics. The players all love his run and gun free-styled offense.
While defense may not be D’Antoni’s strong suit, the theory is simple -- the better defensive players a team has, the better its defense can be.
Lebron undoubtedly is one heck of a defensive player.
D’Antoni has also never won a championship, which is the very reason why Mike Brown was fired.
However, LeBron should not be too concerned about getting too attached to D’Antoni. The Knicks are nowhere ready to fire a coach simply for not winning a championship.
At least not yet.
In fact, the team is currently still craving to go deep in the playoffs, or even make the playoffs at all.
Certainly LeBron is up for that challenge and could be pairing with D’Antoni to take it on very shortly.