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Old 03-30-2011, 07:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CHISHOLM: Would D'Antoni Fit Here?

Chisholm pits the Moustache against Mr Poopy Pants in a steel cage match. Well kinda. - TSN

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Keep in mind, this club desperately needs to develop its youth, but D'Antoni has a very shaky record with allowing youth to develop on the court (Jordan Hill and Anthony Randolph are two recent examples). Can anyone safely say, for instance, that D'Antoni would have gifted James Johnson with an immediate starting spot upon his arrival, especially considering his shaky jump shot and over-eager play? Johnson's been a (moderate) revelation late in the season for Toronto, a rare bright spot in 2011, but that has as much to do with Triano's patience with him on the court as it has to do with Johnson's ability to play mistake-free basketball. After watching several Knicks get frozen out of playing time over the last three years, it's hard to predict what kind of fate Johnson (or Ed Davis or Amir Johnson) would have had to contend with had D'Antoni been running the show when they arrived in Toronto. It's not that he would have stifled their development for certain, it's that having to wonder if he would have is reason enough to at least wonder about D'Antoni's suitability for the job in Toronto.

There is also the fact that the Raptors desperately need some defensive discipline, but D'Antoni has never had a club finish in the top half of the league in terms of defensive efficiency in his career. Most accounts insist, in fact, that he's indifferent at best to preaching the benefits of defence, preferring instead to emphasize his infamous offensive system as the key to winning in the NBA. While Triano hasn't exactly managed to squeeze much defence out of his troops during his time as head coach, either, would giving D'Antoni triple what Triano earns annually really ensure any better results on the defensive end?

At the end of the day the question becomes one of appropriateness. No one is saying that D'Antoni is a categorically bad coach - that would be an unsupportable position to take given his past success in Phoenix - but perhaps he would be an inappropriate choice for another rebuilding project if he's let go from the Knicks. Triano has done a credible job these last two years developing young players like DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, and Ed Davis, and he's done a remarkable job keeping the team cohesive in the face of a LOT of losing this season.

Are there better coaches out there than Triano? Of course there are. However, given where the Raptors are today, and given what D'Antoni has done over the last two years trying to help rebuild the Knicks, perhaps the fit simply isn't there, at least not enough to warrant easing Triano out to make room for Colangelo's former coach. The question of whether or not Triano has done enough to keep his job for another year will be re-visited at the end of the season, but for now let's say that if it's a choice between him or D'Antoni, the Raptors may be wise to stick with the unpopular choice.
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