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.