Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni often claims to coach defense, despite his reputation as an offense-only mind.
So it wasn’t surprising to hear D’Antoni defend his teachings after one of his former players, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, criticized him.
“It’s mind-boggling. I mean, come on,” D’Antoni said Friday. “He threw Frank Johnson, myself, Alvin Gentry and actually Mike Woodson
… was he saving the good stuff? Because he coached him eight months
and he was the defensive coach. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Woodson was promoted from
assistant coach to the Knicks’ head coach when D’Antoni resigned past
the midpoint of last season. Johnson and Gentry also coached Stoudemire
in the past.
Stoudemire subtly blamed D’Antoni after a poor defensive outing in
his first action of the season. Stoudemire was sidelined with a knee
injury until the Knicks played Portland on Tuesday.
“I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career, so to now have a
coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies, and knows
positioning and posture, how to guard different plays, it’s going to be
helpful,” Stoudemire told reporters after the Knicks’ 105-100 loss.
D’Antoni was Stoudemire’s head coach for more than eight seasons in Phoenix and New York.
“If he’s learning, great,” D’Antoni said. “That would be super. It just boggles the mind.”