Peter Vecsey is a great NBA writer. I grew up reading the guy. By the time I became a basketball fan around 1990 he was already venerable. I appreciated when he broke the story that Shaq would be leaving the Magic for the Lakers. Good times. But he appears to have a somewhat misguided vendetta against Mike D’Antoni. In his most recent article he took the Knicks coach to task for not playing Jordan Hill enough.
Nevermind that rookies usually have to earn their playing time, but, as Alan Hahn mentioned in his chat this week, the Knicks had so many overpaid, expiring veterans that it would have demolished team chemistry to sit them. You already had Nate Robinson, Eddy Curry, and Larry Hughes pouting on the bench. Would it really make sense to add Al Harrington to that incendiary mix?
It’s not that there aren’t legitimate criticisms of D’Antoni out there, but the real point of this post is to call out the absurdity of Vecsey’s criticism that because D’Antoni didn’t play Hughes, Nate (the Knicks actually won a large share of their games while he was benched), Hill (who is averaging a whopping 6 or so points) and, ahem, Darko Milicic, that D’Antoni “refused to play” a “playoff team”.
Vecsey attributes his conclusion to “Column contributor Phillip Marmanillo”. Well, blog contributor Scrotie McBoogerBalls retorts:
“Does he have a point? You tell me. Maybe you can make the same case legitimately for Toney Douglas who has carried the Knicks to a pretty decent record since he got the starting gig, but do regular minutes for Darko and Hughes and Hill make up the roughly 10 wins that the Knicks would need to just be in contention for a playoff spot? Vecsey points out that Darko gets regular minutes for the T-Wolves, but he fails to point out that the T-Wolves are one of the handful of teams that are worse than the Knicks, and that Darko hasn’t exactly helped them win very much. We’re talking about Darko!?”