D'Antoni's method to his mildness

Mike D'Antoni's coaching style is perfect for the Phoenix Suns, and that's why he's the coach of the year, writes John Hollinger.

Updated: May 27, 2005, 2:55 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
What is great coaching?

When most fans think of a great coach, they picture a martinet like Bobby Knight or a control freak like Larry Brown. Obsessing over minute details on every play, telling players exactly how to get from point A to point B – that's our idea of coaching. That's not the only style that works, but that's the one that tends to get the most credit because fans can easily see the coach's impact.

Then there's Mike D'Antoni's approach. The Phoenix Suns' head coach has his team playing a wide-open, high-scoring style. He rarely uses set plays and encourages his team to improvise on the rare occasions he calls one. Because of this, the perception among many is that D'Antoni isn't doing anything. But nothing could be further from the truth.