Stephen Curry and Draymond Green admire Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni from afar for how he empowers all his players to be scorers.
No matter who you are Authentic Jason McCourty Jersey , just let it fly – and for the Rockets that means regularly from 3-point range. And in transition whenever possible.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr praises D’Antoni for influencing the way NBA teams now play offense: the pace and the space; precise ball movement and playing small without a traditional center; shooting at will and shooting from way back.
Still, for all his success in leading the West’s top team this season, D’Antoni might need a championship to validate his style.
Standing in the way are the defending champion Warriors, who open the best-of-seven Western Conference finals at Houston on Monday night.
”He empowers everyone to shoot the basketball, and that’s dangerous,” said Green, Golden State’s bruising forward. ”That’s why he’s been so successful, especially on that side of the ball with any team he’s ever coached because that’s definitely an area where he’s a mastermind. ”
D’Antoni downplays his significance in developing today’s game.
”I think a lot of things combined to change it,” he said. ”One, they changed the rules and, two, the analytic people came in and put validation over 3s and stuff we were doing in Phoenix. Yeah, we kind of jumped out there because of the team we had and Steve Nash before anybody really caught on. And it worked. So in a little sense part of it, but there was a lot of factors.”
D’Antoni’s teams recall those running, high-flying Denver Nuggets of the `80s Cheap Leonard Williams Jersey , led by Alex English, Dan Issel and Kiki VanDeWeghe.
While Kerr has long expressed how much he learned from mentor Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, he notes, ”I was inspired by Mike.”
”The guy who deserves the most credit for changing the way the league is played is Mike D’Antoni,” Kerr said. ”He’s the guy who just eliminated the center position and said, `Let’s go small and fast and shoot more 3s.”’
Not that Kerr was immediately convinced such a style would work. After all, while Suns general manager in 2008, he traded All-Star Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal, who hardly fit that focus of play. Kerr has called it a ”bad move” all these years later.
D’Antoni left for New York at the end of that season and went 121-167 before resigning from the Knicks in March 2012. But Carmelo Anthony was never comfortable with or committed to D’Antoni’s way.
The Houston coach has said most everybody doubted his system, but the game has evolved.
”In the old days, you had kind of three out, two in, you had your traditional power forward, whether it was Karl Malone or Charles Oakley or somebody like that who was going to maybe shoot a 15-footer, but he was going to be banging down in the paint http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marquez-valdes-scantling-jersey ,” Kerr said.
”Mike eliminated that and created all that much more space. … The influence is there in the strategy and then over the last 10 years every player in the league has spent his summers shooting 500 3-pointers a day.”
Kerr’s partnership with D’Antoni lasted only that 2007-08 season in Phoenix before D’Antoni bolted for New York. A decade later, the 67-year-old D’Antoni has enjoyed his most successful stint in these two seasons with the Rockets.
His influence has reached the college game, too.
In the summer of 2014, Tara VanDerveer, the women’s Hall of Fame coach from Stanford, called on D’Antoni for an assist She needed to revamp her offense from the Cardinal’s tried-and-true triangle. D’Antoni helped with the transition.
Facing a D’Antoni team, Curry is prepared to defend constant pick-and-rolls. He understands the fast and creative tempo at which D’Antoni’s team plays.
”I guess you’d call it unorthodox when it comes to the things that he tries,” Curry said. ”But it seems that anybody who goes and plays for D’Antoni’s system their offensive numbers go out the roof, just because he knows how to put guys in the right positions and instill confidence when you’re out there to make plays.”
David Lee, an ex-Warrior, played for D’Antoni with the Knicks. Curry says Lee spoke of how D’Antoni sought to bring out the best in his players.
”So he’s had a great track record of putting up crazy offensive numbers and whatnot,” Curry said. ”And as a guy watching teams he used to coach he was always fun to watch.”
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney and AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken contributed to this report.
It’s been several years since Jason Garrett’s future as coach of the Dallas Cowboys was a hot topic waiting for owner Jerry Jones at the start of training camp.
Jones doesn’t seem too caught up in the issue now despite the Cowboys missing the playoffs for the fifth time in Garrett’s seven full seasons last year.
The outspoken billionaire started with a flat ”no” when asked if this was a playoffs-or-bust season for one of the backup quarterbacks from the Cowboys’ Super Bowl-winning era of the 1990s.
”That’s the best answer I can give,” Jones said in his annual pre-camp news conference the day before Thursday’s first practice. ”And the fairest.”
Among the 11 current NFL coaches with at least seven years of experience, Garrett has the fewest playoff appearances with two. The only coach with fewer than Garrett’s one postseason win is Marvin Lewis, who is 0-7 in the playoffs in 15 years with Cincinnati.
Seven of the 10 besides Garrett have won at least one Super Bowl Authentic Josh Allen Jersey , and two others (Kansas City’s Andy Reid when he was in Philadelphia and Carolina’s Ron Rivera) have reached the title game. None of those numbers faze the leadership of the Cowboys.
”I think you can always pull up stats on a lot of different things,” executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said. ”We’re just big believers that, one, we really like Jason and what he’s all about as a leader and as a coach. We’ve had some really good football teams that he’s led.”
Garrett’s seat was the hottest going into 2014, when Dallas won the NFC East at 12-4 and just the franchise’s second playoff game since the last of five Super Bowl titles during the 1995 season.
Before that, the Cowboys finished 8-8 with season-ending losses that kept them out of the postseason in each of the first three full seasons under Garrett. He coached half the 2010 season after Wade Phillips was fired with Dallas at 1-7.
The Cowboys went first to worst at 4-12 in 2015 in large part because of quarterback Tony Romo’s twice-broken collarbone.
Then they were the top seed in the NFC a year later despite another Romo injury when Dak Prescott set an NFL rookie record for passer rating and fellow first-year sensation Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing.
There was another extenuating circumstance when Dallas missed the playoffs last year: Elliott’s six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations halfway through the season. The issue hung over the team all season.
”I think it’s as logical as watching my step as I walk off this stage that Jason is better and the right man for this job, even though he didn’t get coach of the year last year,” Jerry Jones said. ”We see better than anybody in the world, Jason. Consequently, I’m excited about him being our head coach.”
Garrett has steadfastly deflected talk about his job security with his ”control what you can control” mantra. That’s what he did as the last of three straight 8-8 seasons was ending in 2013, and again the next summer.
Then he had a season that earned him a five-year contract, and virtually guaranteed that Garrett would outlast all of Jones’ previous hires, including Bill Parcells. Garrett has two years left on that deal.
”I would think that every aspect of what my responsibilities are as head coach, hopefully I’ve gotten better at those things,” Garrett said. ”Everyone of us is a work in progress. I put myself at the top of the list as a person Authentic Tarik Cohen Jersey , as a coach, in every aspect of my life.”
Garrett is now second in tenure to Tom Landry, the franchise’s only coach for its first 29 years before Jones bought the Cowboys and hired Jimmy Johnson, a two-time Super Bowl winner.
The 52-year-old Garrett is also second to Landry’s 250 regular-season wins with 67. But his .558 winning percentage (67-53) trails Landry, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey and Phillips.
After missing the playoffs at 9-7 last season, the Cowboys changed much of the coaching staff under Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. But Jones hasn’t indicated that means the next overhaul starts at the top.
”If I may be so bold, I’d say he’s a lot better coach today than he was last year or the year before that or the year before that,” Jones said in response to the opening question, which didn’t have a specific reference to Garrett. ”That’s the way it works when you are driven and motivated.”