Found May 29, 2012 on Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest:
The Knicks announced right before the holiday weekend that Mike Woodson would have the “interim” tag removed from his title and become the head coach of the Knicks. They rewarded him with a reported 2-year deal worth about $4 million dollars annually. Knowing that Phil Jackson would have, at least, talked to the powers that be at MSG, is it a wise move by Dolan and company to jump on Woodson? To show how non-descript this hire is, the Knicks didn’t officially announce terms or have a press conference. It was thrown out to the media right before the long Memorial Day weekend when fans were thinking more beach than hardwood, and the Rangers were the big story. Does the lack of flash mean this is the wrong hire? Certainly not, as Woodson was able to accomplish two things that we haven’t seen since Jeff Van Gundy walked out on the Knicks a decade ago: team defense and a superstar/coach on the same page. The Knicks, when healthy, were a better offensive and defensive team under Woodson than Mike D’Antoni. Even Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire- defensive agnostic superstars- seemed to buy into the fact that playing hard on the other end of the floor is important. Why did these two historically difficult stars agree to the increased effort? Because Woodson called them out and challenged them. Don’t forget, even though Tyson Chandler was the heart and soul of this club, he too was chastised by Woodson for his effort. Woodson didn’t care whether his stars’ feelings would be hurt, he came in and established the ground rules. Instead of worrying about losing the head coach job he went about solidifying his position. All three played their best basketball last season under Woodson. In return Anthony got what he wanted: the ball. Instead of being a component player in D’Antoni’s speedball offense, Anthony became the focal point of the offense and rewarded Woodson with one of the best scoring stretches in team history. During the April playoff push, he averaged 29.8 points and hit on 49.5% of his shots. For all the criticism, Anthony carried this point guard-less team into the 7-seed. Everyone points out how poorly Stoudemire played in the Miami series, but I attribute that to rust more than STAT not fitting into the Woodson offense. Before injuring his back, Stoudemire was on a solid five-game run that saw him average 19 points and 9 rebounds; by the way, the Knicks won 4 of those 5 games. The season could have turned out far different if Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin didn’t go down with injuries. Everybody thinks of Woodson as someone who presided over a mediocre Atlanta team. It’s true the Hawks were a 45-50 win team- NBA purgatory- but without a superstar Woodson got his club to win two playoff series and scare the Boston Celtics on their run to the ’08 championship by taking them to 7 games in the first round. If only they could win a game at the Boston Garden, it could have went down as one of the biggest upsets in league history. The following two seasons he was able to guide his club to Game 7 victories in the first round. That is not too shabby. The Knicks have done designer label coaches and failed, as Harvey Araton points out in a recent NY Times article. He reminds us that Garden politics dates back to the days of Red Holzman, and even the great Pat Riley wasn’t immune to it. Woodson seems to understand how to manage his players and bosses, a good recipe for long-term MSG success. It was something that even Van Gundy didn’t do during his 7 years on the Knicks bench. But how do you pass up Phil Jackson? It’s a tempting thought and would have been a great story. The former disciple of Holzman coming home to return the franchise to glory they haven’t seen since he was wearing the uniform. The problem is Jackson has nothing to prove and MSG can only tarnish his Hall of Fame legacy. The latter was a very realistic scenario even for Jackson. Look at the indignity that Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkins and Larry Brown faced during their short tenures. Of course, Jackson could learn from their mistakes and be the first name coach since Riley to survive and thrive at MSG on his terms. I don’t think that ending was guaranteed, and anything less than a title would be considered a failure. That is a difficult mandate to live up to, even for Jackson. Tommy Dee of the Knicksblog points out the Knicks current roster is not setup for Jackson’s triangle offense, but adding the component pieces (see Lamar Odom, veteran shooter) could change that in a hurry. You have to believe veterans would be willing to take less money to play for Jackson at MSG because of his resume. We don’t know if that will be the case for Woodson. Also, Jackson was able to get some of the most selfish players in the history of the game to play team ball, why wouldn’t he do it with Anthony? All good questions, and its likely he would have been successful, but how long would Jackson want to coach? Would he be a year-to-year guy? How do we know his health would stand up? He reportedly has the fire today, but will he six months from now? Will he be able to sustain it for the length of a 3 or 4 year deal? Legitimate questions, but I don’t think any of us know the real answer. The Knicks need consistency not someone who is a “one and done” on the job. The Knicks haven’t had stability as a franchise for nearly 15 years. Even the final few seasons under Van Gundy saw turmoil in the front office. The longest reign of peace was under Checketts/Grunfeld and it should be no surprise the organization nearly won its winning its first title since 1973 during that time. Is Mike Woodson the best coach the Knicks could have chosen? No. But he might be the right coach for this group and, more importantly, these superstars. If he can take a very good Atlanta team to the playoffs and nearly knock off Boston, I don’t see why he can’t be successful with a better roster foundation in New York. Remember, even the great coaches like Jackson and Riley were nobodies at some point. The Bulls plucked Jackson out of the CBA when he was hired in 1989. Riley was broadcasting Lakers games. We might look at Woodson a lot differently two years from now. He actually has a better coaching resume  than the aforementioned Hall of Famers when they took over their teams. The Knicks are going for it with Glen Grunwald as the GM and Woodson the head coach. Not the All-Star front office/coach duo we envisioned, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work. So far, it appears to be headed in the right direction. Let’s give it a chance before we deem it a failure.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

J.R. Smith and Rihanna reportedly have been seeing each other for weeks

We shared a report two weeks that said Knicks guard J.R. Smith and singer Rihanna were getting cozy together at a club, prompting speculation that the two were dating. Now we have a second report saying they’ve been seeing each other. The New York Daily News says the two have been spending time together for weeks, and that they were hanging out in South Beach over the weekend....

Rihanna & J.R. Smith Continue Their Romance In South Beach

Just when we thought things died down, more reports have surfaced that J.R. Smith and singer Rihanna are continuing their romance.  J.R. Smith was picked up and arrested Friday on an outstanding bench warrant for driving without a valid license, but that didn’t stop him from attending South Beach’s biggest party of the year, Urban Beach Week. Smith was out on bond late Friday...

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony Sits Down With Hannah Storm For ESPN’s Face To Face

Why did you want to be a Knick?  “It’s the greatest city in the world, the greatest place to play basketball, the greatest people in the world- vert interesting people. At the same time, there’s people here that are very true, very loyal, and will tell you how it is. Some people don’t wanna accept that.” On being called a selfish player:  Out of everything that I was...

Carmelo Anthony named VP at @drinkpowercoco

The POWERCOCO board just got a little bigger. New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, already an investor in the company, has officially been named the VP of Innovation for the company with the coconut water-laden sports drink. In his new role as vice president, Anthony will work with the POWERCOCO executive committee on product functionality, branding evolution and development....

Spotted: Amar’e Stoudemire In Puerto Rico

May 27: Amar’e Stoudemire was seen in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with the mother of his two children, Alexis Welch, and his kids, Amar’e Jr. and Are.

Spotted: Carmelo Anthony At Greenhouse

May 30: Carmelo Anthony was at Greenhouse in New York City last night celebrating his 28th birthday with wife La La, friend Swizz Beats, and DJ Clue.

Rihanna dating Knicks bad boy J.R. Smith

It looks like the "We Found Love" singer, Rihanna, has found it in the tattooed arms of New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith. The New York Daily News reported that the bad-boy loving singer and the trouble-plagued NBA player have been quietly keeping each other company down in Miami for a couple of weeks.  Sources told the newspaper the couple was "definitely hanging...

Video: Carmelo Anthony talks to Hannah Storm

Spotted: Amar’e Stoudemire In PR With His Son

May 29: Amar’e Stoudemire was spotted walking the streets of San Juan Antiguo, Puerto Rico with his son today.

Knicks Legend Patrick Ewing No Longer Candidate For Bobcats Job

Though the Bobcats will continue their search for a new head coach, they will no longer be considering Knicks legend Patrick Ewing for the job.According to Yahoo! Sports, team owner Michael Jordan recently informed his former on-the-court rival that he was no longer a candidate for the job. While Ewing had a fallback plan when he first interviewed for the position (his existing...

Carmelo Anthony Among Honorees For 2012 Puerto Rican Day Parade

The 17th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take place on Sunday, June 10 as people will crowd the streets for the annual celebration of their heritage.  “The National Puerto Rican Day Parade remains the premiere family event that celebrates Puerto Rican pride and culture from around the world. This year we have an exciting line-up of honorees whose work has empowered...

Spotted: Mike Woodson In Harlem

May 30: Mike Woodson poses with fans after he was spotted in Harlem.

Knicks will regret not signing Phil Jackson

The New York Knicks pulled the trigger and removed the interim label from assistant coach Mike Woodson’s name ending speculation that Phil Jackson would be leading this team next year. Although nothing has been substantiated, there had been rumors floating about that Jackson had some interest in the Knicks head coaching position.CLICK HERE TO READ MORE »
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.