Browsing Posts tagged Mike Woodson

The 8-18 New York Knicks are in serious trouble. Just one season after winning 54 games, the Knicks are devoid of any championship talk or aspirations. On the surface, it’s just a matter of time before owner James Dolan axes  head coach, Mike Woodson and replaces him with assistant coach, Herb Williams. However, such a move would essentially end the Knicks’ season and may push impending free agent, Carmelo Anthony out the door. In addition, the lack of suitable replacements on the open market make axing Woodson a premature move. The Knicks could turn to ex-Knicks Larry Johnson or Allan Houston to take Woodson’s spot on the bench, but neither guy has skill or experience to take over the team. 

While it’s easy to blame a coach for a team’s slow start, Carmelo Anthony and co. can’t deflect all of the blame. Melo is averaging 26.4 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, but his poor showing percentage (44.3%) and low assist total (2.9 APG) aren’t getting it done. JR Smith is starting to play better, but Woodson did not have Smith’s services for the first five games of the season. Add in Tyson Chandler’s 20-game departure due to a broken leg and the injuries sustained by Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton have rendered the Knicks without a point guard. Still, if the Knicks continue to lose games, Woodson won’t be around to see all of his guys return. 

More times than not, coaches are saddled with the blame for failing to meet expectations. They receive credit and failure based on their team’s performance. Under certain circumstances, the coach should be given a chance to turn things around. Woodson, winner of 54 games last season, should coach the Knicks for the entire season. Axing Woodson now will just lead to turmoil during a season when the team must rebound and prove it can retain the talents of Carmelo Anthony. 

Even though the Knicks got their first playoff win in over a decade and their NBA odds were not bad, the 2012 postseason for Knicks fans was almost as bitter as previous years. Last season, the Boston Celtics swept the Knicks in the first round, and this season, they lost in five games to the Miami Heat.

With a lot of cap space tied up, and a large mountain to climb; the Knicks are desperately in need of a full training camp and preseason to get their chemistry right. A lot of things happened this season to the Knicks, let’s take a look back, see if their regular season had anything to do with their early postseason exit.

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Mike Woodson righted the sinking ship known as the New York Knicks. Since taking over interim head coaching duties, Woodson’s Knicks are 16-6 and are playoff bound for the second straight season. However, one major obstacle stands in his way of being promoted from interim to full-time–making Carmelo and Amar’e effectively play together.

Mike D’Antoni’s ‘offensive guru’ coaching habits were ineffective as Anthony and Stoudemire failed to buy into his style of play. However, without D’Antoni, the Knicks have been buying into Woodson’s ideals on both ends. Carmelo has been on fire offensively while Woodson’s decision to run a ‘point guard by committee’ has been effective. However, the one missing factor during Woodson’s success has been Amar’e. Since Stat returned to play, the Knicks are 2-1. Stat scored 22 points and grabbed 12 boards in the team’s win over Atlanta on Sunday. 

It’s been well documented that Amar’e and Carmelo have trouble playing together offensively. Amar’e thrives in pick-and-roll situations while Carmelo is an isolation scorer who loves his space. With two contrasting styles of play, Woodson has to make this work. Ultimately, Woodson may need to swallow his pride and stick Stoudemire on the bench to start the game. Having each scorer work independently may get the other going. In crunch time situations, these two will likely be paired together, but there’s no harm in bringing them along separately to start the game. 

Alike any playoff situation, egos have to be checked. The Knicks and more importantly, New York City are starved for more playoff wins. The Giants and now Rangers have given the city some exciting playoff moments this year. It’s time for the Knicks to step into that spotlight and win playoff games. That success starts with the head coach and his attempt to make the Anthony-Stoudemire situation work, whether or not they are on the court together.