Melo-D’Antoni Deeper Than It Seems

We are back to where we always are with this year’s version of the New York Knicks, examining Carmelo Anthony.  Outside of a couple week excursion to Linsanity everything has been about Melo, sometimes fair and other times not.

This current situation is in regards to quotes Melo had after practice on Monday that are outlined in this column by Jamie O’Grady   http://knicks.lohudblogs.com/2012/03/20/melo-keepin-it-real-real-transparent/.

On the surface it’s a simple, cut and dry situation. Carmelo Anthony didn’t play hard under Coach D’Antoni, he should be castrated. If this is the opinion you have its completely fair and difficult to argue.

To me, it runs deeper than that.  If Anthony had to go into Woodson’s offense and tell him “Hold me accountable. I don’t have a problem with criticism. If I can do something to help better this team, let me know. And he’s been doing that.”

What was D’Antoni doing when he was coaching the team? That basically says MDA let Carmelo play crappy, lazy defense and never said anything to him.

Being a head coach in the NBA is like being a teacher, authority figure at work or a parent. Your job is to figure out how to get the most out of people. Every person has a different personality and needs to be treated a different way. When you are with someone every day you learn their nuances, which helps you understand what you should and shouldn’t do.

Let’s use teaching a class as the metaphor here:

Some students are always on top of what they need to do and don’t need any further attention (Tyson Chandler).

You have the group of class clowns that need to be reminded and scolded for doing stupid shit (J.R. Smith and Baron Davis).

Then there’s the faction of hard working kids who have inherent flaws that can’t be fixed. You work with them hoping they improve, but find ways to hide what they struggle with so you can still get the most out of them (Jared Jeffries, Steve Novak, Josh Harrelson, Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin).

Can’t forget the kid who just doesn’t get it. You’re not sure if its effort, lack of caring or he’s just not intelligent, something is just off. When you sit them down to talk they always say the right thing, but it never translates. You have to constantly go over the same details and make the same points because they keep making the same mistakes (Amar’e Stoudemire).

Finally, the most frustrating student of all, the underachiever. This person has the ability to do anything they want to. They ooze potential and ability, but they choose not to take advantage of it. He pushes and prods to see how much he can get away with, while always doing enough to get by. To get the most out of the underachiever he needs to be constantly ridden. Make sure you do your homework, study for the test, don’t zone out during class and respect your classmates are orders that need to be given frequently. It’s annoying and frustrating to have to baby sit to this extent. When there is a student of this caliber you do whatever it takes to make sure they live up to their potential and hope in time they start to become more accountable on their own. (Carmelo Anthony).

In a perfect world every person could be treated without distinction and you could get the same results. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. It’s about mind games and adjusting to different situations.

Mike D’Antoni couldn’t figure out a way to get the most out of his players and it cost him his job. Carmelo Anthony deserves criticism because he didn’t give the requisite effort, but he also wasn’t challenged like he should have been. Blame needs to go on both parties.