Tuesday , Mar , 04 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Did Mike D’Antoni Make the Wrong Move with Shaquille O’Neal?


Skepticism has morphed into full-fledged disbelief. The coach with the second-highest winning percentage in Suns history has discovered that fan patience these days is shorter than his bench. He’s being called everything from ‘One-trick ‘toni’ to ‘Mike D’Anphoney.’ He is taking the criticism in stride, although it was refreshing to see the Suns coach bear his teeth a bit Monday. ‘To me, it’s competition now,’ Mike D’Antoni said. ‘People think I can’t get it done. I think I can. ‘Right now, (the critics) are winning. Well, they’re winning for three months. I’ve been winning for three years. And we’ve still got a month to come so they better be careful.’

Well, well. Good to see a little swagger on this team because it sure hasn’t been spotted on court. Why the fan ire? The Suns are 2-4 with Shaquille O’Neal in the lineup. Their performance has raised questions about what kind of coach D’Antoni can be outside his comfort zone, where the tempo is faster than a salsa beat. They’re fair questions. D’Antoni has spent much of his career coaching this style. In his effort to work a 7-foot-1, 321-pound giant into rotation, the Suns have played sloppy defense, turned over the ball frequently and struggled with their perimeter game. Click here for more from the Arizona Republic.