New York’s odd couple: analyzing Mike D’Antoni and Zach Randolph’s sudden friendship
Instead of hitting each other with chairs, these two are hitting each other with compliments in a training camp love-fest. D’Antoni has told reporters that Randolph is better than he thought. Meanwhile, the controversial four-man has been behaving …
They looked like an odd couple. The old school coach and new school point guard. And critics predicted Hubie Brown, as soon as he left broadcasting to run Memphis’ sideline, would clash with Jason Williams.
Well, they surprised. This duo formed an amicable partnership in Tennessee; Brown publicly called Williams the NBA’s brightest player, while ‘White Chocolate’ always listened to his personable bench-boss, toning down his flamboyance to lead the NBA in assists-to-turnovers.
Like Brown and Williams, Mike D’Antoni and Zach Randolph are surprising in New York. The Knicks’ new coach and 20-10 forward seemed destined for a training camp collision. Think WWE cage match. ‘Seven Seconds to Shoot’ versus ‘Z-Bo’.
Instead of hitting each other with chairs, these two are hitting each other with compliments in a training camp love-fest. D’Antoni has told reporters that Randolph is better than he thought. Meanwhile, the controversial four-man has been behaving.
Many are suspicious. They don’t buy D’Antoni’s comments, pointing out he saw Randolph regularly when both were in the Western Conference. They also question the southpaw’s new attitude, believing he should save the good-guy act for the Broadway stage.
Remember, Randolph was nearly dealt to Memphis in September. These doubters are still waiting on a move. The thinking is everyone makes nice publicly, while a trade is worked out privately. After all, a player performing on-court with a smile is more marketable than a player holding out.
Randolph could easily stick in New York, though. He has some chemistry with blue-collar post David Lee and has looked good in pre-season action. For instance, against Philadelphia, he scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and also grabbed 10 rebounds in 30 minutes of work.
Eddie Curry’s plight will help Randolph stay. The new regime isn’t a fan of Curry and his 10 million dollar per annum contract may be easier to trade than Randolph’s big-ticket pact.
For now, D’Antoni and Randolph are making their Felix and Oscar pairing work. Of course, this is New York and things can change in a minute.