Mike D’Antoni: My Teams Played Defense

Remember when you picked up that dirty orange ball in your driveway and just chucked it at the hoop?  That was a good time, right?  Well, everywhere Mike D’Antoni goes, he makes his players feel just like that little child.  His team gets to run and shoot at their leisure, whenever they feel like it.  He sets some guidelines, sure, but his methods keep his squads mentally refreshed.  His offensive style is praised by every man who plays within it – if a player lost his love for the game, Mike will bring it back. The run-and-fun style will turn the casual fun in to a fanatic of his teams.

At the same time, basketball media just weren’t used to his methods.  His teams the last four years in Phoenix were labeled as a solid regular season outfit with the inability to get stops on the defensive end.  Now, in New York, Mike is slowly bringing back respectability to the Knicks, his way.  D’Antoni joined The Sports Guys on 104.3 The Fan in Denver to discuss why he thinks the criticisms of his teams are wrong, what Chauncey Billups does for the Nuggets, and he compares Carmelo Anthony’s talent level to Kobe and LeBron.

On why the Suns’ critics didn’t make sense:

“The only thing that really irks me, and I understand that they say we play didn’t defense, but those 4 years, I know at least 3, and I don’t have the stats in front of me, but we were always in the top 10 defensively…  People run with ideas and before you know it, it’s so exaggerated that what they’re saying is not really true.  We’re a nation of, ‘Just throw it out there and somebody will pick up on it,’ really no one does any research and it gets to be true.  That’s the only thing I hate, we had a great run in Phoenix, I love the guys we’re with, it’s not fair to them.  Everybody says, yeah they’re soft, they don’t play defense and that wasn’t fair to them.  They won 62 games!  You know how hard it is in the West to win 62 games?  And, you go on the road and you’re 32-10 and they say you don’t play defense?  I don’t know how you get all that done.”

On why Billups is such a boost for Denver:

“Chauncey puts the house in order, he’s gonna be very efficient with the basketball and that’s what you have to do… Just making every possession count.  When you put everybody in their spot and you give people the ball when they can do something with it, and you don’t ask them to be something that they aren’t, then you have a very good chance of succeeding.”

On where he thinks ‘Melo’s game can go:

“He could be as good as he wants.  That’s always been the question.  And, it looks like as you get older and understand a little bit better or you’re not pressing, he’s really doing a great job and he did a great job this summer.  He’s one of the most talented, he’s right up there with everybody else, the Kobes and the LeBrons talent-wise.  Maybe they figured it out a little bit earlier exactly what’s important, and maybe he’s figuring it out now.”

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