The New York Knicks should give strong consideration to Mike Woodson as head coach.
While we wait for the NBA to resume play – without the New York Knicks – one thing that is already underway in New York’s offseason planning is the search for their sixth head coach in the last seven years.
Names that have emerged as prime candidates have been former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau, former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, along with several assistants from around the league, including 76ers assistant Ime Udoka and Bulls assistant Chris Fleming.
However, another name included on the list is former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who helped lead the team to their best season under James Dolan in 2012-13.
Here’s why it’s vitally important for the Orange and Blue to give Woody another shot.
Mike Woodson got a bad break while coaching the New York Knicks
It is not talked about enough how Mike Woodson was fired after only his second full season as the head coach of the Knicks. While we have seen this trend in other New York hires in the recent past with Derek Fisher, Jeff Hornacek, and David Fizdale, Woodson’s firing simply made no sense.
In his coaching tenure with the Knicks, the Indiana product finished with impressive results (109-79), largely due to the 54-win season he posted in the aforementioned 2012-2013 campaign.
In the following season, the Knicks went from the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference to the 9th by going 37-45. While the record was disappointing, there is a lot to take into account that was out of Woodson’s control.
- Tyson Chandler, the Knicks’ all star center at the time, missed 27 games with right knee issues and a respiratory illness. If New York was able to get valuable minutes out of Tyson for at least 20 of those games, it’s safe to say the Knicks would’ve been able to win at least two more of those contests and propel themselves to a playoff birth.
- The “Carmelo Anthony Controversy” was something that highlighted people’s view of the Knicks entering the 2013-2014 season. After winning the scoring title the year before, Melo said in an interview that he was “looking forward to free agency.” Obviously it’s impossible to tell the true impact this statement had, however it’s hard to imagine that it didn’t affect his teammates in a certain way as the season continued to drag on and the Knicks continued to lose.
Mike Woodson received positive praise from his players
While Woodson coached the Knicks, a lot of players had nothing but good things to say about him.
“His holding everybody accountable makes you want to make sure everybody plays hard,” 14-year-old vet Mike Bibby told Newsday. “You want to do it for yourself, but you want to do it for him.”
Carmelo Anthony also had something to say about his former coach
“I don’t have a problem with criticism,” Anthony said. “If I can do something to help better this team, let me know. And he’s been doing that.”
The Bottom Line
For almost a full decade, the Knicks have failed to secure a head coach for a long period of time. There are plenty of routes New York can take when it comes to finding their next one. They could grab someone with playoff experience, take a chance on an assistant coach, etc.
However, I think the Knicks should give Mike Woodson a second chance. The 62-year-old has lead a Knicks team to a playoff series win before and has gained the respect of at least the large majority of his players; something the last three full-time Knicks coaches have not been able to do.
The Knicks are expected to make a decision on their coaching hire in the next several weeks.