KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Knicks guard Jamal Crawford has changed his mind when it comes to his new coach.
A phone call from Mike D'Antoni helped.
D'Antoni, the former leader of the Phoenix Suns, became the first big hire of new Knicks president Donnie Walsh last month.
``I just talked to him two days ago. Great guy. A proven winner,'' Crawford said of D'Antoni on Wednesday while visiting a minicamp practice of his hometown NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks.
``He and Mr. Walsh are going to get us turned around.''
D'Antoni, who signed a $24 million, four-year contract to become the Knicks' 24th coach, won at least 54 games each of the past four seasons and was the NBA's coach of the year in 2005.
The 57-year-old is known as one of the NBA's top offensive minds, running a system that helped Steve Nash win two MVP awards and making the Suns one of the league's most exciting teams.
Crawford and his Knicks flopped to a 23-59 finish last season, matching the franchise record for losses.
``Oh, yeah, it's definitely attractive, to know that is the kind of game he likes to play,'' Crawford said, his eyes widening at the mention of D'Antoni's style of play.
``He's very excited. He feels like we're not as bad as everyone thinks we are.''
By the end of what Crawford said was a ``disastrous'' season, many Knicks players wanted Thomas back as their coach after Walsh replaced him as team president.
Crawford even drew a comparison with Boston's Doc Rivers, who many wanted fired a year ago and now has the Celtics in the NBA finals.
``It was tough, honestly,'' Crawford said. ``We know that usually the coach is the first to take the fall when things go wrong, but with Isiah it was double that because he brought everybody in (as president).
``The chemistry just wasn't there. Maybe it was personalities. Maybe it was just the fit,'' of the roster.
The Knicks are slower than D'Antoni's Suns, with Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph in the frontcourt. And New York's point guard is uncertain with Stephon Marbury coming off ankle surgery that ended the worst season of his career.
``Maybe less is more,'' Crawford said, talking about what needs to be changed to make the Knicks better.
``We feel that at every position we are good. Now we have to get the right chemistry. Guys need to know their roles, and get defined roles.''
Crawford said he didn't feel any Knicks quit on their lost season. Not exactly, anyway.
``I won't say necessarily quitting, because everybody still played hard and the young guys kept improving all season,'' said the former star at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School. ``But you could see guys just feeling, 'Let's end this nightmare.' That's when it felt the season couldn't end fast enough.''
The 28-year-old Crawford said he will remain mostly in Seattle with family and friends until the Knicks' training camp begins this fall. On Saturday, he will host a fundraiser for Seattle's public schools in an effort to ensure each city high school has enough money to hire a full-time athletic trainer.
Sports Insights' Advanced Betting Tools - NFL Free 14-Day Trial

NBA Team Pages

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Futures

  • CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 11/4
  • GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 4/1
  • OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 15/2
  • SAN ANTONIO SPURS 10/1
  • LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS 11/1
  • CHICAGO BULLS 14/1
  • HOUSTON ROCKETS 16/1
  • ATLANTA HAWKS 25/1
  • MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 28/1
  • MIAMI HEAT 33/1