Coach Mike D'Antoni has been found to have faults in the areas of a) defensive emphasis and coaching b) development of bench players c) failure to hold players accountable for lack of energy and effort all leading to d) his inability to bring a highly talented team into the NBA Finals culminating e) in a humiliating first round defeat this season.
Despite these "challenges" the collective wisdom of the (exhibit a: readers) of this site along with the self-appointed and so-called experts of the (exhibit b: NBA blogosphere ) have overwhelming voted to give Coach D'Antoni another chance.
Read on for a recap of the arguments for and against along with the specific voting results...
Arguments from the Prosecution
The prosecution's case for firing D'Antoni was based on these main points:
1) Failure to deliver a championship with an extermely talented team over a four year period despite being ever so close and pointing the collective eye's of the Suns world on the prize
2) Failure to hold players accountable for lackluster low energy performances resulting in the inevitable game 3 disaster in this year's playoffs. This was just another in string of similar no-shows such as crucial end of season matchup's with the Rockets and Mavericks
3) Failure to develop and use a deeper rotation to provide more lineup flexibility and depth which came back to bite the Suns in key playoff moments over the years
4) Tremendious hubris and stubbornness leading to a failure to adjust in a timely fashion to changing circumstances as evidenced by D'Antoni's own words saying he was "snookered" after game 1 into believing his team was good enough to win when clearly it wasn't
5) Failure to instill a defensive philosphy and system resulting in the now discredited belief that championships can be won without being a top defensive team
Arguments from the Defense
1) The Sun's post-season failures were the result of a series of unforeseen events such as injuries, bad breaks and commissioner's rulings
2) The Sun's didn't have the roster to either develop bench players or have a legit shot at a title thanks mainly to poor personnel decisions and penny pinching from the owner
3) The Shaq Trade left the Suns little time to adjust to a new system and identity
4) Coach D'Antoni is a brilliant coach who revolutionized the sport and deserves more time in Phoenix
5) The Suns won't find anyone better
Two polls were taken - one a public vote of BSoS readers and the other of the so-called experts. The results were nearly identical.
|The Fans||The "Experts"|
|Send him packing||24%||26%|
|He's doing great - consider extending him||15%||16%|
Give him one more year - talk to him about his short-comings
The Final Outcome
It will be a few more days before we know the final decision from the Suns. Kerr will certainly demand some changes from D'Antoni and he will have to decide if he's willing to adjust or perhaps go somewhere else and start over.
For my money, while I argued for a fresh start I would certainly be satisfied with a committment to address some of his coaching weaknesses next year. The Suns talk as if the window is still open (I doubt it) and if they believe that it makes sense to give Mike one more shot.
The Suns roster of older, less athletic players and fewer long range shooters all combine with lack of post season success to demand a change in how next year's Suns plan on contending for a title.
Defense. Depth. Fewer turnovers and fewer possessions. These will define the 08-09 Suns. It's up to Coach D'Antoni to decide if he wants to prove himself to be a well-rounded coach that can adjust to his team or if he wants to go somewhere else and cement his legacy as a one-trick pony.
Thank you to everyone from around the NBA blogocommunity that participated in this debate and of course to the reader's of this site. This topic has generated a lot of interest and passion and I am confident that we explored every angle and gave a platform to a wide variety of voices. All of this is completely meaningless of course in the actual IRL outcome but it certainly was a nice expression of fan opinion.