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.