You've got to love old Coach Mikestache. Asked about his approach to playing rookies, D'Antoni said this:
"I don't like to play bad rookies. I like to play good rookies," D'Antoni said, explaining that Hill was not showing enough in practice to warrant playing time ahead of the Knicks' more established frontcourt players. "I do like Jordan. I think he'll be a nice player in the league, but that's as far as it goes."
To which ROOKIE Jordan Hill fired back...
"Didn't hear that, but what can I say? That's him," Hill said. "He's entitled to his own opinion, so if that's the way he feels, that's how he feels. I'm not trying to make a point. I'm just trying to play basketball. I just want to go out there and have fun and play my game."
Way to take the high-road there,
In a related note, Tom Ziller goes back and looks at D'Antoni's coaching career history with rookies and finds that only Leandro Barbosa got serious run and that was in 2003.
Ziller lists the other rookies D'Antoni had to work with - studs like Jackson Vroman and Yuta Tabuse - and argues that you can't blame him for not playing those guys. Fair point.
But it ignores all those high draft picks the Suns never had a chance to see because Mike didn't want any part of developing 1st year players.
$4m for Marcus Banks as the back up point guard instead of drafting Rajon Rondo?
Signing off on the 2004 trade that sent the #7 pick (Loul Deng) to Chicago in return for the #31 pick (Vroman) and the Bulls '05 pick (Nate Robinson) who was then shipped to the Knicks (ironic much?) for Kurt Thomas who D'Antoni didn't play much in '07 resulting in the '08 salary dump that cost the Suns their '08 and '10 1st round picks?
Instead he went with your Walter McCarty's, Eric Piatkowski's and Jumaine Jones'. And who can forget that savior of the playoffs, Jalen Rose.
D'Antoni is a coach who likes certain players and doesn't like other one's. If you are in his dog house, you can forget ever getting out and for rookies - unless they happen to the son of his former Italian party buddy - you can forgetaboutit.