Mike Woodson is the guy who has just missed out. The former Hawks head coach — that team got better every year he was there — has interviewed for every NBA head coaching job opening this summer. And he is struck out every time.
So it looks like he is going to be the “defensive coordinator” for Mike D’Antoni in New York.
Although Woodson’s last Atlanta team was criticized for its failure to make defensive adjustments when getting bombed by Orlando in the 2010 playoffs, the former first-round pick of the Knicks will join D’Antoni’s staff as a defensive coach….
In the past few days, Woodson had told two confidantes that he expects to join the Knicks. The move might become official next week, according to sources, when Garden and team executives return from vacation. Woodson had what he called a good meeting with D’Antoni earlier this month, but he had people above D’Antoni in his corner from the start.
This already fuels two bits of speculation. One, Woodson has ties to Isiah Thomas and that always pricks up ears in New York. Secondly, and maybe the bigger one, this puts a guy fully capable of stepping into the number-one job right behind Mike D’Antoni. In a city where plenty of people want D’Antoni’s head on a platter.
Defensively, Woodson’s Atlanta teams got better over the years but were never above the middle of the pack in the NBA. His teams were known for switching every pick — which was largely a matter of the roster given him — which allowed teams to get matchups to exploit. But, he did well with a roster that regressed once he left.
If he can get the Knicks to play defense and still run D’Antoni’s offense, he may not hit and miss on future head coaching jobs. Then again, if he gets the Knicks to play defense with the current roster he may actually be a miracle worker.
Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)