In the wake of the trade that landed them Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni will be charged with putting his new squad together, and this won’t be easy for him. Meshing the talents of the high-scoring duo of Anthony and Amare Stoudemire will take time.
D’Antoni’s team is now run by a veteran point guard better suited to a half-court style in Chauncey Billips, while D’Antoni has always been a push the ball up the floor and get quick shots advocate.
So, there will be some blending of talents and philosophies that will need to take place. D’Antoni joined Boomer and Carton on WFAN in New York to talk about the changes. Sports Radio Interviews has the full transcript.
Here is part of the interview:
On getting the guys to play together:
"It’s a whole thing if players are able to give and take. We don’t want to take their egos away or their game and what made them successful, but they have to be able to blend it in with the other superstar per se or the other players. If they can do that successfully than we’re going to be a good team because the talent level obviously went up. Now can they play together and put their needs aside for the needs of the Knicks? They’re saying the right things. Now it will come down to doing it."
How important Chauncey Billups was in the deal:
"Well people do forget how instrumental he was, the MVP of the Finals, won two titles, and he went from Detroit to Denver when they were floundering and made them a really good team. He’s only 34, he has a great body, has at least three or four more great years in him, he should be able to play at the All-Star level, and he’s the guy that has to kinda understand what the team needs and how to get Carmelo and Amar’e the ball and be successful. I don’t think you can underplay how important he is and yet you can’t put it all on his shoulders. That’s a big, big pickup for us."
If they can come together quick enough to be dangerous:
"I think they have a good chance at it and I’m excited about doing it. There’s a level of talent here that we have never had so it does make it easier. Having said that we’re in sixth right now and we’re trying to hold onto that. Can we pass Atlanta who has been together for five years, Chicago who is playing well together, Boston, Orlando, and Miami, can you do that in this short time? We’ll see. I’d never say Amar’e and Carmelo can’t do something because they are strong-willed individuals where when push comes to shove they’re doing the shoving. And Chauncey is a proven winner so hold on and let’s see if we can do it. I do know that the Knicks franchise is better off today than it was yesterday and in the future, whether it’s next week or next year this team is going to be a lot better and we will raise some eyebrows around the league."
Good luck, Mike. You are going to need it because if this does not work the blame is likely to fall on you.