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Mike D'Antoni Talks Rotations, Revamped Roster As Knicks' Season Gets Set To Tip-Off

Six NBA teams began their 2010-2011 season last night. 22 more teams are slated to begin the new year this evening, including the new-look New York Knicks, who travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors.

On Tuesday, the day before the action got started for the Knicks, head coach Mike D’Antoni joined The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio to talk about his revamped roster, the wild and crazy summer that was this past offseason, and what he’s expecting out of his squad this year after two fairly ho-hum seasons in The Big Apple. (Transcript via: SRI)

On why he thinks the Knicks will be more competitive this year:

“Well, you start with Amar’e Stoudemire first of all. He’s a legit top 5, 6, 10 – whatever you want to call him – player in the league. So we’ll have a closer at the end of games which I thought we’d been lacking the last couple of years. Raymond Felton – very good player, went to the playoffs last year. Those two I think are kind of our rocks. And then after that, we have some exciting young guys and we’ll see who steps up. From Gallinari to Chandler to Mozgov to different guys on the team – I think we’ve improved.”

On how deep he’d like his rotation to be:

“Probably nine. You can play nine. Eight is really easy, nine you can do it, ten is very hard. Obviously if guys make a case that you’ve got to go ten, you will. But if everybody stays healthy, and if everybody is commanding minutes, nine is the number I feel most comfortable with.”

On how things are not at all set in stone in terms of rotations or playing time:

“No, and it can’t be because we have a lot of new faces and rookies. So we don’t know exactly how they’re going to react. We are excited about the team. We think we can improve as we go along, but at the same time we want to be good off the bat. We’re excited but cautiously optimistic especially with all the young guys.”