I Wouldn't Play Yuta Tabuse Either

One of the sillier stories to emerge from this week's Knicks/Rockets game was the idea that Knick coach Mike D'Antoni hates rookies. That meme was born when lottery-pick Jordan Hill -- now a member of the Rockets -- suggested that D'Antoni's prejudice against first-year players was the reason he rarely got playing time before the trade.

The fact that this got any ink at all is a testament to the fact that the Knicks simply haven't given beat writers much to run with of late. Of course, the writers who printed Hill's accusation are the same scribes that told us the rookie's lax practice habits caused him to fall behind undrafted free agent Marcus Landry on the depth chart -- and praised D'Antoni for not handing Hill a job because of his draft position.

Other rookies that have played for D'Antoni got the playing time the deserved -- which is to say, "not very much." As Tom Ziller of Fan House points out, the only rook to get more than 1000 minutes on a D'Antoni team was Leandro Barbosa. But that says more about the competition than D'Antoni's sub patterns. Back trouble limited Danilo Gallinari last year, and the list of rookies that played for D'Antoni in Phoenix -- Alando Tucker, Dijon Thompson, the immortal Yuta Tabuse -- is thoroughly uninspiring.

Let's not forget -- the Suns made a habit of trading away first-round picks to save money.

If any rookie has cause to complain about his playing time under Mike D'Antoni it's Toney Douglas, who had to wait until Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, Sergio Rodriguez and Tracy McGrady all flopped at the point guard spot before he was given a legit shot. Douglas' play down the stretch has been one of few bright spots for the Knicks of late, though his play down the stretch was an excellent reminder that having a rookie run your offense in the final minutes of a close game isn't usually a good idea.


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