The Knicks are winning at their fastest pace in years. So far this season they have achieved feats in winning that have gone unseen for Knicks fans for a generation. By all accounts they have one player worthy of MVP consideration and another who should be a clear cut All-Star. Team chemistry is good. Everyone is on the same page.
But if the New York Post’s Marc Berman has his way, that will all soon change. Berman thrives on vendetta and negativity. So while I can’t say that I was surprised to see that he contrived yet another disingenuous controversy today, I can say that – in what’s been the most successful season since a foregone era – Berman’s desire to put a “good” story ahead of journalistic integrity, personal integrity, self-aggrandizement, bitterness and deceit are all the more transparent.
It’s clear that Berman still keeps a ceremonial shrine to chupacabra by his bedside, vaseline and all. The latest example is his backdoor tribute to his wayward son in today’s edition. In an article entitled “Knicks coach continues to defend Duhon“, Berman falsely paints D’Antoni as a space cadet who believes that Duhon is capable of being an upper-echelon point guard, and used that straw-man in his latest attempt in a never ending quest to build up the benefactor for so many of his lame “POST EXCLUSIVES”.
It would have been obvious if it was just an implication but Berman made his agenda explicit:
Tonight the Knicks face the Magic, who signed Duhon over the summer as a free agent. Ironically, the Magic tried to sign Duhon two years ago before D’Antoni begged Knicks president Donnie Walsh to ink Duhon because he felt he couldn’t coach Marbury’s ego. The result was a 61-103 record over those two seasons when Duhon was the starting point guard.
Notwithstanding that there wasn’t a coach in the league who could handle Steph’s ego, and notwithstanding that Berman’s assertion that D’Antoni “begged” Donnie Walsh to sign Duhon is balder than Berman himself is, the Knicks had deeper problems over the last two years than just D’Antoni’s coaching and Duhon’s play at the point.
Well those other deep problems have since been sorted out but clearly a vendetta remains. I presume there are ways to build up Steph without tearing down Duhon, D’Antoni, the team he’s coached to (currently) the sixth seed in the East (a game and a half out of the fourth seed), and their terrific point guard, Raymond Felton, but that isn’t the route on which Berman tread:
D’Antoni made an unfortunate reference regarding Felton’s chances of being an All-Star, saying Amar’e Stoudemire has a lot to do with it and not Felton’s excellent decision-making while playing at the highest speed possible.
So D’Antoni must have criticized “Felton’s excellent decision-making while playing at the highest speed possible”, right?
Here’s what Berman uses to support his contention that D’Antoni thinks his point guard doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star:
“Raymond brings Amar’e [Stoudemire],” D’Antoni said, making a reference to Duhon not having a big man of that caliber during his tenure with the Knicks. “That’s why it’s hard to compare people. Chris did what we asked him to do, did the best job he could do. We had moments we looked good.”
That’s a clear shot at Felton, except, uh, it isn’t. I guess Steve Nash didn’t deserve his two MVP awards either.
I would LOVE to hear the question that solicited that answer from D’Antoni. If it came from Berman I have no doubt that it was the type of trap-journalism type question in which he specializes. The type that the responder can only maneuver with daft political skill. Probably something like “How much better is Felton than Duhon?”
It is blatantly obvious how well Felton has been playing and how instrumental he has been in righting the Knicks ship on the floor and in the locker room. But Berman deals in sowing discord and controversy, not in honest journalism. If he was interested in the truth and not just trapping D’Antoni to satisfy a grudge he would ask the Knicks’ coach whether his point guard deserves to be an All-Star and whether Felton has been instrumental in the Knicks’ success.
But if Berman asked those questions he might not get the response he wanted. He might not have had the opportunity to put words in D’Antoni’s mouth as he did in today’s edition. Most importantly though, he wouldn’t have had yet another chance, at the expense of a team and coach and point guard who have been enjoying success that has been unprecedented in recent years, to pay tribute to a curse that has long since lifted, and a man who has long since been forgotten everywhere except at the desk of a petty “journalist”.