5. Best head coaches in Knicks history: Mike Woodson
In developing this ranking, the top four coaches were easy to identify, the challenge was how to rank them. For the fifth best coach in franchise history, it was a bit more difficult to decide who should make the cut.
I considered Hubie Brown. The ageless coach joined the Knicks in 1982 after Red Holzman’s second stint with the team. Brown got the Knicks back into the playoffs during his first two years on the job, even pushing the champion Celtics to 7 games in the 1984 Eastern Conference semifinals. But things quickly fell apart, partially due to injuries, over the next few years.
That left me deciding between two coaches who had extremely short tenures with the organization, but reached high peaks during their time. While Rick Pitino and the Bomb squad Knicks deserve credit considering how much they were ahead of their time, the fact that Mike Woodson remains the only coach under owner James Dolan to find success deserves greater applause.
Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni during the 2011-12 season and immediately found results, leading the Knicks to an 18-6 finish. He then coached the best Knicks team since the nineties in 2012-13, winning 54 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
We know what happened there, but you could argue the Knicks were a blocked shot away from reaching the Conference Finals, which is amazing to think about in relation to every other Knicks team over the past two decades.
Woodson finds his name back in the running for the Knicks current head coaching position, although it seems most likely he would join the team as an assistant.