Mike D’Antoni Fires Back At Amar’e
Amar’e Stoudemire recently made news when he said that this year is the first time that he has actually been taught defense, which is a pretty crazy statement for someone who has been in the NBA since 2002. This was subtle jab at Mike D’Antoni, who Amar’e played for in both Phoenix and New York.
D’Antoni responded in a seemingly sarcastic manner, where he questioned Stoudemire a little. Via the New York Times:
“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.”
Personally, I find D’Antoni’s response to be hysterical. He points out that Mike Woodson, now the head coach of the Knicks, was running the defense for the Knicks while Amar’e was there. Does that mean Stoudemire didn’t learn anything from Woodson when he was an assistant, but all of a sudden is tuning in?
Mike D’Antoni is certainly an offensive coach, but he sometimes catches too much criticism for his defensive schemes. While his teams are never great defensively, they are usually somewhere in the middle of the pack on a points-per-possession basis. They often give up a lot of points because they play at a fast pace, leading to more possessions.
It’s actually pretty impressive to be able to be a somewhat average defensive team with Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash on the floor.
-Mark Evans, Assistant Manager/Editor of Content
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