Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Walsh Takes ‘Responsibility’ for Knicks’ Poor Play
NEW YORK –Donnie Walsh wants the Knicks to turn it around sooner.
Doc Rivers is hoping for later.
Either way, Walsh is taking responsibility for the team’s uneven play since the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Entering Monday’s game with the Celtics, the Knicks were 7-8 since the trade and 1-6 against teams with losing records. They had lost two straight and five of six.
“I take more responsibility than the players or the coaches because I made a monumental trade in the middle of the season and it appears to me they’re having a hard time getting together, which is understandable,” Walsh said before the game.
“I want it to get better as soon as possible. I want to see us, if nothing else, get playing so if you get in the playoffs you’re playing at a playoff level.”
The Knicks (35-34) entered the night in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Rivers is rooting for later rather than the sooner for a Knicks turnaround.
“Hopefully two-three years,” he cracked. “I have no idea. I don’t know how long it takes, there’s no number to it. Who knows, but they’ll figure it out.”
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni expressed confidence that the team would work out its issues and said he felt no pressure to make it happen.
“I’ll be 60 in May, that’s pressure,” he joked. “So no. The pressure I feel and I think every player [feels] is the pressure of compettion.
“I’m not taking it lightly. As a team and as a person and as a group we’re not happy with this and we’re working as hard as we can.”
When the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007 to complement Paul Pierce and give Boston three superstars, Rivers pointed out that he had the advantage of training camp to work with his team.
“With us when we did it, I had the luxury of training camp, which absolutely helps,” Rivers said.
Garnett, Pierce and Allen were also older at that point and more willing to surrender their individual goals for team ones.
“I will say that our guys are older and I think that made my job easier,” Rivers said. “I just think when you have veteran players who have had their day in a lot of ways at that point, the only thing they want is to win.”
Rivers said all three players had their shots drastically cut. But it paid off as the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.
“When you want to win everybody has to be a willing participant,” Rivers said. “Everyone has to sacrifice. You look at our guys, all their shots were cut in half from the year before. And that’s just the way it is. And they’ll do that.
“That takes some time to get comfortable with that, to get used to that.”
Anthony, 26, and Amar’e Stoudemire, 28, are still relatively young, and Anthony said recently it may take the new-look Knicks a year to fully jell.
“I don’t want to hear that,” Walsh said. “I mean I understand what he’s saying, because he’s putting it in the context of really good teams are together for a long time.
“We’re trying to compete against some teams that have been together for a long time.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.