NBA: DíAntoni is Knicksí new coach
By Brian Mahoney
NEW YORK ó Mike DíAntoni is bringing his high-scoring brand of basketball to a Knicks team that seems ill-suited to run it.
No matter. The former Phoenix Suns coach figures heíll come up with something that works.
iI will adapt what I do,î DíAntoni said Tuesday. iNow, I like to play fast, move the ball and all that stuff, and weíll try to do that as best as we can. Obviously youíre going to be a little slower than (the Suns), but at the same time thereís no reason why you canít run, be exciting and have good ball movement.î
The Knicks are counting on it, hoping one of the NBAís top offensive coaches can turn around a team with seven straight losing seasons ó and make New York an exciting future destination for free agents who want to play his entertaining style.
DíAntoni was introduced as the Knicksí 24th coach during a news conference at Madison Square Garden, four days after agreeing to leave the Suns for a $24 million, four-year contract. Knicks president Donnie Walsh referred to his new coach as Mike iDíAntonio,î before quickly correcting himself. Still, Walsh is certain he has the right man.
iI thought that Mike was the best guy to choose because I think heís been in situations like we have right now and he did a good job with those situations,î Walsh said.
DíAntoni believes he can win right away, even though the mismatched group of players he inherits makes that difficult to imagine.
iI look at the roster, and thatís the roster Iím going to win with,î DíAntoni said. iMy focus is to win this coming year.î
DíAntoni replaces Isiah Thomas, who was fired last month after going 56-108 in two seasons. New York was 23-59 last season, matching the franchise record for losses.
DíAntoni won at least 54 games each of the last four seasons and earned coach of the year honors in 2005. He is known as one of the NBAís top offensive minds, running a system that helped Steve Nash win two MVP awards and making the Suns one of the leagueís most exciting teams.
iMike is a proven winner in this league with a long impressive coaching resume in the NBA and abroad,î Walsh said. iWhile Mikeís style in Phoenix was extremely successful with a running offensive team, he can adjust his style to the personnel.î
DíAntoni, 57, went 253-136 in Phoenix, but the Suns let him talk to other clubs about their jobs after losing to San Antonio in the first round. He chose the Knicks over the Chicago Bulls.
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