I really do not want to re-hash the events last night in Cleveland but what choice do I have?
We knew when we hired Coach D’Antoni that defense was not his speciality. We knew he would take a cast of misfits and make them entertaining to watch. Exciting at times. They did not do a whole lot of winning under him but not too many coaches would have gotten many wins with the roster he had the last 2 years.
That clearly is not the case with this roster. Expectations are to win games. Expectations are to beat the Cavaliers, with ease.
If Mike D’Antoni believes in a game plan that focuses around offense and out scoring his opponents, that’s fine. I don’t necessarily believe that is the right approach to winning a championship but he is an NBA Coach who makes millions of dollars. I am a fan who blogs about basketball. His credentials outweigh mine any day.
That being said, he needs to win games. If he believes in offense over defense. Win that way.
Or change your philosophy. It’s that simple. I am a huge believer in leadership. You cannot replace it with fancy X & O schemes. You cannot replace it with great athletic ability. You cannot replace it with trades or the signing of free-agents. As much as players are depending upon to be leaders, it is the coach job to be the ultimate leader of the team they coach.
Now I have my reservations about the leadership of Mike D’Antoni but I cannot sit here and say he is not a great leader. Perhaps he is. I can say this team has not been lead in the right direction though. Players will perform to the coaches level of expectation. If the coach does not expect you to play defense or rebound, guess what? They will focus on what’s important to them. Scoring.
Scoring is the alpha and omega of just about every NBA player in the league. It is what success is equated to. WHen you check the boxscore, what do you look at first? So do the players. Very few players are self motivated to be great defenders. Does not make it right but it is the truth.
The difference maker between a team being a good defensive team is coaching, period. I believe that whole heartedly. So unless Coach D’Antoni is willing to send the message that if the players do not play with defensive intensity or exhibit effort on the glass, they will not play. Nothing will change.
Except maybe the coach.
Sadly enough, that is what it might take.