New York Knicks: Have we overlooked the best head coach candidate?

Mike D'Antoni, Houston Rockets (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Mike D'Antoni, Houston Rockets (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
Mike D’Antoni, New York Knicks former coach. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Best Head Coach for the Knicks: Mike D’Antoni

I know it’s not going to happen. The Knicks new head coach will be in place long before D’Antoni’s bubble quest concludes, but it’s a mistake not to consider him. Sure, things didn’t work out  the first go-round, but with Leon Rose making the decisions without the input of a meddling owner, it would work this time. Just imagine…

What this could do for RJ Barrett, playing for the coach who helped his godfather (Steve Nash) earn back-to-back MVPs. Instant buy-in. Major improvement as a playmaker. All-Star-level production as a sophomore and beyond.

What this could do for Mitchell Robinson, playing for the coach who took Clint Capela from a sub-20 MPG reserve to league-leader in FG% and automatic double-double. We’ve only seen flashes of what Mitch can do. Under D’Antoni, he’d be unleashed.

What this could do for Frank Ntilikina, playing for a man who had Chris Duhon…you get it.

And the list goes on. Could he unlock Kevin Knox? Could he maximize Julius Randle, whose career year came under a former D’Antoni assistant? Could he get DSJ right? Could he build upon Iggy’s strong G-League play or take advantage of Wooten’s freakishness?  And what about our 2020 rookie class – what might it do for their skills and confidence to play under a guy who revolutionized the game?

It’s an offensive league. D’Antoni’s an offensive genius. The Knicks have young players with intriguing offensive potential just waiting for someone to bring it out of them. There’s no better candidate in this regard.

In a perfect world, the new regime would interview all their candidates, consider all available information, and then sit tight until D’Antoni’s time in Houston comes to its official end. Then they’d hand him a blank check. Then they’d make their favorite summer interview – Hammon or Udoka or Miller or even Atkinson (who also used to assist under D’Antoni) – the highest-paid associate head coach in NBA history, with the next three years an opportunity to learn under arguably the greatest offensive mind the league’s ever seen. Then RJ Barrett superstardom, Mitchell Robinson paint dominance, Frank Ntilikina starting point guard…


It won’t happen. Potential CAA grudges and bad memories aside, they simply won’t wait that long. They’ll get everything in place ASAP so the organization can turn its attention to October’s draft. It makes sense.

Next. Re-drafting New York's last 10 first round picks. dark

And to be honest, as long as we’re not right back here in two years – as has been the case with every coach since D’Antoni’s departure – I’ll be happy with whatever Rose decides.