If you want to hit the hot button of Coach Mike D’Antoni, just ask him if he is concerned about the minutes his players are averaging per game.
Mike D’Antoni has made all the right calls this seasons.
I made the mistake of inquiring about a recent article by the much-respected Paul Coro in the Arizona Republic, which voiced concern about the Suns work load. Mike wasted no time telling me, “Why is everybody so hung up on having to play more than seven or eight players in the rotation? Can’t people change their thinking?”
Mike has been on the cutting edge of changing some thinking on how to approach the game since he took over as the Suns Head Man. Initially, the naysayer’s said the offensive system of the Suns just couldn’t work.
You can’t run like the Suns do and survive! That theory or thinking has been put to rest, as many teams are attempting a facsimile of that approach. So as Mike is suggesting, those same doubters are surfacing in regards to mpg. He thinks the only concern is to slice Steve Nash’s minutes by maybe two per game, but he is very comfortable with what’s happening with the rest of the team.
“We have some 24 year old players who can handle the load and I am not concerned about their minutes played,” Mike said. Diaw just never gets tired, Amaré and Shawn thrive on their work load and would complain if asked to play less. Bell is so tough that the minutes he plays don’t even compute.
What is so helpful is how productive Leandro Barbosa is when he comes off the bench. Mike continued, “LB thinks he is superman right now and there’s nothing he can’t do”
A healthy Kurt Thomas is critical come playoff time, as is the continued return of James Jones’ shot now that he has his leather ball back.
Most experts will tell you that Dallas’ depth will be the difference in the playoffs. The Mavs have a deep bench with many interchangeable parts. But, the Mavs don’t have a Steve Nash and some believe the continued growth of Amaré Stoudemire’s game will be huge by post-season play.
What if all means is… These two teams are headed on a collision course, with a broadcaster like me and fans like you, salivating for the showdown!