NEW YORK -- Iman Shumpert said the players were just as surprised as everyone else when they heard that head coach Mike D'Antoni had resigned after Wednesday morning's shootaround, leaving a few hours before Mike Woodson would make his debut as interim coach against Portland.
Shumpert found out after the shootaround, when the news broke and text messages started flooding his phone's inbox. But like everyone else, he knew the reason.
"Obviously we just weren't winning," he said. "Plain and simple."
Shumpert didn't blame D'Antoni. He said he wasn't his place to decide what is fair or unfair. But he saw the lack of effort that plagued the Knicks during their six-game losing streak and ultimately ran D’Antoni off the bench.
New York collapsed in the fourth quarter against Chicago on Monday, a night after D’Antoni sat his starters in the fourth against Philadelphia because he said the starters lacked "collective spirit."
With D'Antoni out, the spotlight now falls squarely on the players.
"We just gotta buy in on both ends," Shumpert said. "As long as we play hard, we go 100 percent the whole game, I think we're going to put ourselves in position to win games. We've got the personnel to do it."
Interim GM Glen Grunwald said D'Antoni did what the coach thought was best for the organization in making way for a new voice in the locker room. Reports surfaced this week that D'Antoni was losing the team and at odds with Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks star was adamant Wednesday morning in saying that he did not want to be traded and that he supported D’Antoni.
"I think it looked a lot worse because we're all competitive and we all want to win," Shumpert said. "During that six-game skid our [body] language was bad as a team."
Shumpert said players will not have trouble adjusting to Woodson, who has been in charge of the defense this season. He already has the respect of players.
"He's had a tremendous effect," the rookie said. "I think there were times this year that we really looked in on defense. During this six-game skid we’re gotten away from who were are as a team."
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