Role Toni: Studying Mike D’Antoni’s Effect on Role Players

  • While revisiting Ari Caroline’s articles on game theory and floor stretch over at the Wages of Wins Journal (wagesofwins.com), I noticed that someone in the comments brought up Mike D’Antoni’s ability to improve role players while they are in his system, only to see them decline when he leaves.  I decided to investigate, as much of my experience browsing his Suns’ Wins Produced data leaves me feeling that those teams were really carried by Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, and-in some years-Amare Stoudemire.  Using both Wins Produced and Win Shares, as well as True Shooting Percentage, I will go player-by-player and look at their data with and without D’Antoni.  However, I will not include Nash or Marion, who were stars with or without the Seven Seconds or Less coach, and players who never played 500 minutes in an included season for the West Virginian of Italian descent.  I will include the 2003-04 and 2011-12 seasons as D’Antoni spent about two-thirds of each season as the coach.  Mid-season trades are counted as seasons if they qualify and are omitted if they do not.  Trades not including a D’Antoni-coached team are not separated.  The players are listed by first season with D’Antoni and minutes played in said first season.  Here goes nothing:

  • Phoenix Suns

  • 2003-04

SG Joe Johnson

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 22.
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: .135, .067.  WS48: .075, .060.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.8%, 47.2%
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .068, .117 (as SF-SG .145).  WS48: .047, .112.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.1%, 55.6%
  • Three Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .122, .108, .070.  WS48: .086, .105, .100.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.7%, 55.8%, 53.5%
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  The increase in shooting percentage was likely natural and did not result in significantly increased productivity, nor was it subject to decline after leaving The Valley of the Sun.

C Amare Stoudemire

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 21
  • Previous Season: WP48: .116 (as PF-C .076).  WS48: .116.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.0%
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .029, .162, .163, .208.  WS48: .105, .243, .201, .262.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.6%, 61.7%, 63.7%, 65.6%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .077, .098  WS48: .149, .181.  True Shooting Percentage: 61.7%, 61.5%.
  • Start of Second D’Antoni Stint: 28
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .070, .036.  WS48: .134, .128.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.5%, 54.1%
  • Season After D’Antoni: WP48: .144 (as PF-C .104).  WS48: .200.  True Shooting Percentage: 62.7%
  • Verdict: Moderate Possibility.  While his performance greatly increased in his first full season under D’Antoni, that was also his age 22 season, which means that there is lots of room for growth.  His decline has seemed fairly premature, but he also has an extensive injury history.  Furthermore, a return to D’Antoni’s system did not stop his decline, and he seems to be revitalized in his first full season as a Knick with Mike at the helm.  I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

SG Casey Jacobsen

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 22
  • Previous Season: WP48: .041.  WS48: .051.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.3%
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .103 (as SF-SG .131), .071.  WS48: .068, .067.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.0%, 57.5%
  • Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .131, -.040 (as SF-SG -.012).  WS48: .074, -.023.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.3%, 43.7%.  (Note that there is a two-year gap between the two seasons in this category.)
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  Honestly, Jacobsen, despite his promise, never got enough of a chance to prove himself in the NBA.  There was a different increase in shooting efficiency with D’Antoni around, but like Johnson and Stoudemire, Jacobsen was a very young player with a probability of improvement.

C Jake Voskuhl

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .135, .109.  WS48: .143, .129.  True Shooting Percentage: 61.4%, 60.4%
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .043.  WS48: .097.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.7%.  (Voskuhl also played for D’Antoni in 2004-05, but he only was on the court for 360 minutes.)
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: -.054, .002.  WS48: .061, .077.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.0%, 52.3%
  • Verdict: Moderate Possibility.  While Voskuhl did not get better when he was with D’Antoni, he certainly got worse after he left, and he left Phoenix when he was only 28.  However, his destination was the Bobcats, and at the time they were only in their second year of existence.

PG Leandro Barbosa

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 21
  • Was a rookie in 2003-04.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .053, .044, .082, .147 (as SG-PG .114), .081 (as SG-PG .048).  WS48: .061, .081, .115, .151, .109.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.3%, 57.5%, 58.9%, 59.5%, 57.5%.
  • Three Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .146, -.011 (as SG-PG -.044), .003 (as SG-PG -.030).  WS48: .141, .065, .053.  True Shooting Percentage: 58.8%, 52.6%, 53.9%.
  • Verdict: Moderate Possibility.  Barbosa certainly declined after D’Antoni left, but there was a year of interim in between the coach’s leaving and the Brazilian’s precipitous fall from grace.  The decline was caused by his major drop in scoring efficiency both inside and outside the arc, and while both have recovered, they have not done so at the same time.

PG Stephon Marbury

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .120, .076, .098.  WS48: .077, .082, .134.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.9%, 50.5%, 51.9%
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .104.  WS48: .120.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.5%.
  • Three Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .129, .184, .075.  WS48: .144, .171, .084.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.3%, 57.5%, 53.2%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  If anything, Marbury improved after escaping from Arizona.

SG Anfernee Hardaway

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 32
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .094, .121.  WS48: .056, .062.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.2%, 49.9%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .114.  WS48: .069.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.6%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .060, .017.  WS48: .029, .009.  True Shooting Percentage: 45.1%, 48.0%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  Any decline on Hardaway’s part stems from the fact that this guy was injury-prone and on the wrong side of thirty, and any improvement is negligible.

C Jahidi White

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 27
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .094, .187.  WS48: .061, .118.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.5%, 55.2%.  (Note that White only played 230 minutes in 2002-03, which immediately preceded his encounter with D’Antoni.)
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .055.  WS48: .067.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.4%.
  • White only played 135 more NBA minutes after leaving Phoenix.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  The fact that the amount of change was limited and we have no later data to look back at makes any definite answers somewhat fuzzy.

PG Howard Eisley

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 31
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .131, .091.  WS48:  .097, .096.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.2%, 50.5%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: -.022.  WS48: .013.  True Shooting Percentage: 44.1%
  • Season After D’Antoni: WP48: -.023.  WS48: .000.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.0%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  He declined if anything.

PF Zarko Cabarkapa

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 22
  • Was a rookie in 2003-04.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: -.147.  WS48: -.037.  True Shooting Percentage: 46.1%.
  • Season After D’Antoni: WP48: -.081.  WS48:  .031.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.2%.  (Note that Cabarkapa only played 475 minutes in 2004-05, the year immediately following his with D’Antoni, but was actually very playable that year.  I will fudge the requirements and list his numbers: WP48: .074.  WS48: .124.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.8%.)
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  I was sorely tempted to go with an “Inconclusive” here, but in the end his Phoenix numbers were so side-splittingly terrible that I just couldn’t do it.

PF Antonio McDyess

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 29
  • Previous Season: WP48: .144.  WS48: .146.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.8%.  (Note that because of some pretty substantial injuries and the Stephon Marbury trade, McDyess had not had a qualifying season since 2000-01.)
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .097.  WS48: .060.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.4%.
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .155, .110.  WS48: .154, .128.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.2%, 52.0%.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  McDyess’s injuries make it very difficult to do a “before” comparison, and his “after” numbers with the Pistons are somewhat better than his Suns ones.
  • 2004-05

SG Quentin Richardson

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 24
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .066, .063.  WS48: .036, .050.  True Shooting Percentage: 46.0%, 48.4%.  (His numbers were considerably higher in the two seasons preceding that, however.)
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .111.  WS48: .098.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.2%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .053, .142 (as SF-SG .170).  WS48: .023, .104.  True Shooting PErcentage: 45.2%, 53.2%.
  • Start of Second D’Antoni Stint: 28
  • Other Season Before D’Antoni: WP48: .043.  WS48: .008.  True Shooting Percentage: 44.4%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .091.  WS48: .054.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.0%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .208, .105.  WS48: .133, .068.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.2%, 45.4%
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  Yes, Richardson did have good years in the two seasons with D’Antoni.  However, looking at Q’s data is like being on a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs, some organic and some not; his career is just one big whirlwind.  It’s very hard for me to make any conclusions at all, but there are no extenuating technicalities that can blame this on, so I’m just going to say, “Maybe.”

C Steven Hunter

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 23
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: -.012, .045.  WS48: .094, .034.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.2%, 50.4%.  (Note that these seasons are not continuous, as Hunter only suited up for 447 minutes in 2002-03.)
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .113.  WS48: .121.  True Shooting Percentage: 59.6%.
  • Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .086, .078.  WS48: .090, .085.  True Shooting Percentage: 59.8%, 57.3%.
  • Verdict: Moderate Possibility.  While Hunter certainly improved under Mike’s direction, a) he was in his age 23 season and b) his play did not revert to its original form upon his move to Philadelphia.  His improvement seems very natural to me.

SF Jim Jackson

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 34
  • Two Previous Seasons: WP48: .123, .076.  WS48: .102, .075.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.0%, 53.8%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .073.  WS48: .079.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.8%
  • While Jackson played 512 minutes in the 2005-06 season, 92 of these were with the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving no data that meets the 500 minute cut-off.  This data does portray dramatic decline in both uniforms.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  The relative statistical stagnation and lack of later data renders this an unusable data point.
  • 2005-06

SG Raja Bell

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 29
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .125, .019, .034.  WS48: .069, .088, .080.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.9%, 50.0%, 52.7%
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .117, .083, .080.  WS48: .110, .095, .082.  True Shooting Percentage: 58.4%, 56.2%, 56.1%.
  • Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .085, .060, .059.  WS48: .074, .040, .069.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.8%, 52.8%, 58.6%.  (Note that Bell only played 180 minutes in the 2009-10 season.)
  • Verdict: High Possibility.  According to Wins Produced, Bell’s time in Phoenix really redeemed his career at a non-traditional age and his increase in True Shooting Percentage is fairly substantial, but his fairly stagnant Win Shares numbers are keeping this one from being definite.

PF Boris Diaw

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 23
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: .120 (as SF-PF .050), .050 (as SF-PF -.020).  WS48: .021, .005.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.3%, 47.9%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .117 (as C-PF .157), .072, .023.  WS48: .149, .097, .063.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.4%, 57.0%, 51.6%, 56.5%.
  • Three Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .064, .084, .079.  WS48: .082, .103, .082.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.5%, 55.2%, 55.8%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  Diaw played very well in his first year according to Wins Produced, but taken in the context of his entire career sans Gregg Popovich, and it looks somewhat anomalous.  There was improvement, but it might have been just the age thing, and there certainly wasn’t any decline postmortem.

SF James Jones

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 25
  • Previous Season: WP48: .112.  WS48: .090.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.7%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .099, .044.  WS48: .110, .077.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.1%, 51.0%.
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .197, .065.  WS48: .139, .065.  True Shooting Percentage: 62.5%, 52.0%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  That anomaly year in Portland was the only major change within earshot of his team with Mike D’Antoni, and it was a dramatic improvement.  No way, Jones-ay.

SG Eddie House

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 27
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .038, .108.  WS48: .027, .097.  True Shooting Percentage: 43.6%, 52.5%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: -.006.  WS48: .054.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.2%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .080, .102 (as PG-SG .135).  WS48 .094, .127.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.6%, 53.4%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  His shooting improved greatly just before his collaboration with D’Antoni, and his overall productivity increased before the door had a chance to hit him on the way out.

C Kurt Thomas

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 33
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .031, .077 (as PF-C .037), .058.  WS48: .100, .094, .087.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.1%, 50.3%, 48.8%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .064, .093.  WS48: .112, .115.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.7%, 53.1%.
  • Three Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .158, .168, .095.  WS48: .123, .152, .095.  True Shooting PErcentage: 51.4%, 53.0%, 48.9%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  He improved at a ripe age after leaving and any advances he made in Phoenix were definitely within an expected margin of error.  Next!

PF Tim Thomas

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 28
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: -.002, -.001 (as SF-PF -.071).  WS48: .093, .054.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.1%, 49.8%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .042 (as SF-PF -.028).  WS48: .069.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.3%.
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .024, .002.  WS48: .092, .042.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.2%, 50.5%.
  • Start of Second Stint with D’Antoni: 31
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .054.  WS48: .091.  True Shooting Percentage: 60.0%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not with the Suns and High Possibility with the Knicks.  There just isn’t any real change in Thomas’s abysmal statistics in his Phoenix tenure, but look at that True Shooting in NYC!   This guy is the epitome of everything I hate about late 90’s/early 2000’s star players.
  • 2006-07

PG Marcus Banks

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Two Seasons: Wp48: .075, .051.  WS48: .081, .074.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.0%, 54.3%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: -.091.  WS48: .037.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.7%.
  • Banks also played 310 minutes for Phoenix in 2007-08, but that season is invalidated because he neither qualifies as a Sun or a member of the Heat.  After that, Banks never played more than 244 minutes in a season ever again.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  Just like with Jahidi White, I have to call it “Inconclusive” becuase of the lack of “after” data, although I probablby would have categorized both as “Definitely Not’s” otherwise.
  • 2007-08

SF Grant Hill

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 35
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .116, .128.  WS48: .130, .123.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.2%, 58.2%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .152.  WS48: .127.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.6%, 58.4%.
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .141, .145.  WS48: .104, .109.  True Shooting Percentage: 58.4%, 56.1%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  While maintaining one’s ability well into their mid-thirties is quite an achievement, Hill managed to do just fine after D’Antoni skipped town in favor of the bright lights of New York.  This was a surprisingly hard choice, though.

PF Brian Skinner

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 31
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .076 (as C-PF .107), .071.  WS48: .057, .035.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.7%, 51.1%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .087.  WS48: .069.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.5%.
  • Season After D’Antoni: WP48: .044.  WS48: .024.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.4%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  There was no improvement in Brian Skinner’s productivity, and the decline after leaving Seven Seconds or Less is definitely attriubtable to the fact that he was past thirty.  Besides, what drop-off did occur was not that drastic.

C Shaquille O’Neal

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 35
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .069, .054.  WS48: .119, .059.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.7%, 57.7%
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .126.  WS48: .100.  True Shooting Percentage: 60.5%
  • Two Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .148, .059.  WS48: .166, .119.  True Shooting Percentage: 62.3%, 56.5%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  Maybe I’m just getting tired of saying, “No, no, NO!” but I think there is actually some merit here.  While he continued to improve after D’Antoni left, Shaq played better in Phoenix than he had in Miami by a not-insignificant amount.  His rebounding numbers also soared after being traded, only to crash right back down to Earth when D’Antoni left.  His scoring did increase with the switch, but I don’t know.

New York Knicks

  • 2008-09

PG Chris Duhon

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .169, .135, .106.  WS48: .116, .121, .075.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.8%, 52.9%, 50.8%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .135, .100.  WS48: .069, .045.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.9%, 50.1%
  • Completed Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .021, .086.  WS48: .015, .051.  True Shooting Percentage: 44.6%, 55.8%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  While the point guard’s first year in Disneyworld looks like just one of those down years athletes often have, maybe it wasn’t.  It’s just not definite enough.

PF David Lee

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 25
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: .214, .338, .204.  WS48: .116, .191, .151.  True Shooting Percentage: 60.7%, 65.2%, 60.6%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .183 (as C-PF .223), .169 (as C-PF .209).  WS48: .154, .163.  True Shooting Percentage: 59.0%, 58.4%
  • Completed Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .081 (as C-PF .121), .043 (as C-PF .083).  WS48: .110, .113.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.9%, 54.9%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  While Lee did not improve under D’Antoni, he most definitely get a heck of a lot worse when he left.  I don’t think D’Antoni had anything to do with keeping David efficient, but I can’t exactly rule it out, can I?

SF Wilson Chandler

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 21
  • Previous Season: WP48: .037.  WS48: .038.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.0%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .043, .058, .099.  WS48: .054, .057, .094.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.5%, 53.4%, 54.8%
  • Completed Season After D’Antoni: WP48: .029.  WS48: .037.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.5%
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  I cannot completely ignore that decline coming off of a career season.

PF Al Harrington

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 28
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: -.035, .006, .026.  WS48: .065, .080, .118.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.3%, 54.0%, 54.7%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: -.014, -.020.  WS48: .080, .077.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.5%, 54.6%.
  • Completed Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: -.041, -.015.  WS48: .060, .088.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.7%, 53.5%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  I move into George Karl’s anti-doghouse has not changed this guy a bit.

PG Nate Robinson

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 24
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: -.012, .065, .044.  WS48: .046, .114, .082.  True Shooting Percentage: 51.2%, 55.2%, 52.6%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .117, .064.  WS48: .128, .091.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.9%, 55.2%
  • Completed Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: -.033, .078.  WS48: .051, .111.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.7%, 53.4%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  Maybe I’m just being more lenient with the Knicks, but I cannot ignore the fact that Robinson’s lean year came immediately after leaving D’Antoni’s system.

SF Jared Jeffries

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 27
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .163, .141. .008 (as PF-SF .078).  WS48: .076, .043, .002.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.0%, 47.3%, 43.3%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .041, .069.  WS48: .045, .057.  True Shooting Percentage: 47.3%, 52.4%.
  • Jeffries was traded to Houston but returned to New York before having a 500-minute season with any other team.
  • Start of Second D’Antoni Stint: 29
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .124.  WS48: .109.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.4%.
  • Verdict: Slight Possibility.  While he may have made a comeback in Time No. 2, enough of his playtime came after the Italian-American’s firing that I cannot completely deny the possibility.

SG Larry Hughes

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 31
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .057, .005 (as PG-SG .019), .072.  WS48: .073, .042, .088.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.0%, 46.8%, 52.5%.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .042, .048.  WS48: .049, .023.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.4%, 47.3%.
  • Hughes has only played 409 minutes since leaving D’Antoni’s Knicks.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  The lack of data after being coached by one of this European pioneer’s teams is frustrating.
  • 2009-10

PF Danilo Gallinari

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 20
  • While Gallinari played for the Knicks in his rookie season of 2008-09, he only appeared in 412 minutes.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .044, .105.  WS48: .098, .140.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.5%, 60.0%.
  • Completed Season After D’Antoni: WP48: .055.  WS48: .140.  True Shooting Percentage: 56.3%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  I’m sorry, but that isolated drop in Wins Produced just isn’t enough.  Not after 3.5 hours of typing!

SG Toney Douglas

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 23
  • 2009-10 was Douglas’s rookie season.
  •  Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .116, .113, -.117.  WS48: .097, .101, -.046.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.1%, 53.4%, 39.3%.
  • Douglas played for the Knicks in 2011-12.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  If he hasn’t played in a season at least not partially coached by Dan the Man, how can I make a conclusion?

SF Bill Walker

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 22
  • Walker only played in 245 NBA minutes before joining the ballclub that resides in Madison Square Garden.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .137, .100, .030.  WS48: .123, .069, .067.  True Shooting Percentage: 65.1%, 58.3%, 52.6%.
  • As far as I can tell, Walker has not played professional basketball of any kind since being cut by the Knicks on April 24 of last year.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  Next verse, same as the first.  I wonder why Douglas and Walker’s shooting efficiency fell off a cliff during their three years in the Big Apple, though.

SF Tracy McGrady

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 30
  • Previous Two Seasons: .081, .125 (as SG-SF .097).  WS48: .115, .108.  True Shooting Percentage: 48,7%, 49.2%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .058.  WS48: .016.  True Shooting Percentage: 46.9%
  • Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .153 (as SG-SF .125), .178 (as SG- .150).  WS48: .061, .094.  True Shooting Percentage: 50.3%, 51.0%.
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  His time in New York was a valley with the twilight of his career in sight.  {Buzzer sounds}

PG Sergio Rodriguez

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 23
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .086, .112.  WS48: .068, .074.  True Shooting Percentage: 49.1%, 53.8%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .061.  WS48: .033.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.3%.
  • Rodriguez went back to Spain after completing his contract with the Knickerbockers.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  There just isn’t any “after” data.

2010-11

SG Landry Fields

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 22
  • Fields was a rookie in 2010-11.
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .219, .170.  WS48: .100, .085.  True Shooting Percentage: 59.8%, 50.6%.
  • Fields played exclusively for the Knicks in the 2o11-12 season.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  No “after” data leaves me with nothin’ to say.

PG Raymond Felton

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .065, .147.  WS48: .066, .118.  True Shooting Percentage: 48.3%, 52.5%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .119.  WS48: .093.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.4%.
  • Completed Seasons After D’Antoni: WP48: .126, .045.  WS48: .097, .042.  True Shooting Percentage: 52.3%, 49.1%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  While last season his play declined, that was when he was very much out of shape after the lock-out and he had already proven with George Karl and in Charlotte before that that it wasn’t the system in NYC that was making him a good player.

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 24
  • Previous Seasons: WP48: .063 (SF-PF -.007), -.026.  WS48: .063, .069.  True Shooting Percentage: 53.3%, 52.2%.  (Note that these seasons were 2006-07 and 2007-08.)
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .116.  WS48: .089.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.8%
  • Season After D’Antoni: WP48: -.141.  WS48: -.041.  True Shooting Percentage: 37.2%.
  • Verdict: Definitely.  And we finally have someone who most definitely fits the bill!  This one is sort of tongue-in-cheek, though, as Williams barely made the minutes cut-off and may have just been having an awfully strange and long-term slump.

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 28
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .092, .113.  WS48: .101, .078.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.9%, 57.4%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .128.  WS48: .134.  True Shooting Percentage: 64.8%.
  • Turiaf only played in 279 minutes in 2011-12.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  Once again, we have no “after” data.

SF Carmelo Anthony

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 26
  • Previous Three Seasons: WP48: .054, .093, .090.  WS48: .145, .138, .127.  True Shooting Percentage: 54.8%, 55.7%, 54.7%
  • Seasons with D’Antoni: WP48: .125, .104.  WS48: .157, .160.  True Shooting Percentage: 57.5%, 52.5%.
  • Unless you’re not an NBA fan or have been living under a rock for the last year or so, you know that Melo is still a Pant.
  • Verdict: Inconclusive.  Does anyone have a more creative way to mix up the lyrics to this melody?

  • Starting Age with D’Antoni: 34
  • Previous Two Seasons: WP48: .178, .175.  WS48: .182, .171.  True Shooting Percentage: 60.1%, 63.4%.
  • Season with D’Antoni: WP48: .116.  WS48: .155.  True Shooting Percentage: 58.2%.
  • Completed Season After D’Antoni: WP48: .045.  WS48: .135.  True Shooting Percentage: 55.4%
  • Verdict: Definitely Not.  Sure, this guy declined, but he’s in his mid-thirties!  Furthermore, his play took a big dip after he was thrust into D’Antoni’s arms anyway!

Considering that D’Antoni was fired in the middle of the 2011-12 season and that I’ve been working on this darn thing for over four hours at this point, I’m not going to cover that season.  So here are the percentages of the conclusive cases:

  • Suns
  • Definitely Not: 47.4% (9/19)
  • Slight Possibility: 26.3% (5/19)
  • Moderate Possibility: 21.1% (4/19)
  • High Possibility: 5.3% (1/19)
  • Definitely: 0% (0/19)

 

  • Knicks
  • Definitely Not: 35.7% (5/14)
  • Slight Possibility: 42.9% (6/14)
  • Moderate Possibility: 7.1% (1/14)
  • High Possibility: 7.1% (1/14)
  • Definitely: 7.1% (1/14)

 

  • Total
  • Definitely Not: 42.4% (14/33)
  • Slight Possibility: 33.3% (11/33)
  • Moderate Possibility: 15.1% (5/33)
  • High Possibility: 6.1% (2/33)
  • Definitely: 3.0% (1/33)

Maybe my study was a little biased.  I gave you the information I used; draw your own conclusions and tell me about it.  However, I don’t believe that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Mike D’Antoni makes role players look better in his system, only for them to decline once they walk out the door.  In fact, there were many occasions when the exact opposite occurred at one end of the spectrum or the other.

I hope that you enjoyed this laborious work.  Thank you for reading.  If you skipped all of the mind-boggling numbers and just went to the end to see what I had to say, I do not blame you one bit.  Thank you for reading, please comment, and please come back.

P.S. For my very small following, I sincerely apologize for not having posted in about two weeks.  I have had ideas, just not the will to type them all up.  Expect more on the way, though!

 

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