Knicks introduce run-and-gun D'Antoni as new head coach
Mike D'Antoni has been successful implementing a fast-paced offence on his teams, and began a new race on Tuesday to see if the newly-named New York Knicks coach can improve their lowly performance, dpa reported.
"Mike is the right fit as we build this team back to contention," said Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh, who introduced D'Antoni at a late morning press conference at Madison Square Garden.
"He is a proven winner in this league with a long impressive coaching resume in the NBA and abroad. While Mike's style in Phoenix was extremely successful with a running offensive team, he can adjust his style to the personnel."
Added Walsh: "He teaches his teams how to win and that's probably the most simplistic but profound statement. I think he'll be a great partner to work with to turn this thing around."
D'Antoni left the Phoenix Suns after compiling a 232-96 record in four seasons, including 54 wins in each of the last four years.
However, a reported strain developed with management over coaching philosophies and D'Antoni was given permission to speak to other teams after the Suns were eliminated by the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
"That's no crime because San Antonio might be the best team out there," D'Antono said. "It happens to the best of families. We had to disconnect and it was best for me to move on."
After interviewing for the Chicago Bulls coaching vacancy, D'Antoni decided to take the Knicks' offer and the reported four- year, 24-million-dollar contract.
The upbeat 57-year-old D'Antoni will take his innovative offence to a plodding Knicks squad, who besieged by injuries and big contracts, finished a dismal 23-59 this season under Isiah Thomas before he was fired last month.
"I'm excited to get started, I know the job that has to be done and with Donnie we'll get it done," D'Antoni said.
D'Antoni hasn't examined the roster closely enough yet to know if he'll make many changes.
"I look at the roster and that's the roster I'm going to win with," he said. "I like the players. I think, there's some great things here, we just have to put it together, and that's what we're going to try to do."
D'Antoni laughed when asked if he had a timetable to turn around the Knicks in the Big Apple, where fans expect success in a New York minute.
"That's one thing I heard about you (media) guys, you'll give me time, which after the third game of pre-season you'll ask if I've turned it around," he joked.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but I will guarantee that there are 30 teams out there right now preparing to make the playoffs next year and we're going to do everything we can to get there.
"The only thing I can promise is that we're going to play hard, we're going to be exciting. So, put on your seat belt and let's go for it."