LAS VEGAS — Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is with the team in Las Vegas for Summer League, and with reports of mutual interest between New York and Metta World Peace now that he’s cleared amnesty waivers, Woodson was asked if he thought he might have a knack for coaching players with, shall we say, a more unique outlook on things.
Woodson was especially successful with a similarly quirky player in J.R. Smith, who had a monster year for the Knicks last season that resulted in him taking home Sixth Man of the Year honors. Woodson said it’s all about getting a player to know their place on the team in order for them to be successful.
“I know his name has been circling out there,” Woodson said of the World Peace-to-the-Knicks talk. “I can coach anybody. I’ve coached guys from 18, 19, 20 year old young men and built the team in Atlanta, and that’s tough for a first-time coach. So I experienced that. I don’t think there’s a player I can’t coach if he’s going to be willing to be coached. I think it’s just a matter of pushing the right buttons and getting guys to understand their roles.”
Woodson likes what World Peace is able to bring to a team, but reminded that it’s a little early in the process to be putting him in a Knicks uniform just yet.
“I like his skill set a lot,” Woodson said. “I think a lot of teams have liked his skill set over the years. He does a little bit of everything, but again, it’s a moot point until he’s available if that may be the case.”
Woodson would seem just fine with adding World Peace, or any player that could help his team for that matter — just as long as they share the same vision in achieving the ultimate goal that he does.
“If anybody comes to this team, they’ve got to understand it’s all about team, man,” he said. “It’s not about individuals here. It’s not about me as a coach, it’s about the New York franchise trying to win an NBA title. If you understand that, we’ve got a chance.”
Some additional Knicks notes from Woodson’s few minutes with the media:
– Woodson knows how good Carmelo Anthony was when playing the power forward position last season, but he’s at least willing to entertain the possibility of playing newly-acquired big man Andrea Bargnani alongside him in the lineup.
“They could [start together],” he said. “We’ll evaluate everything. It’ll really be a little bit different this year because I know we’ve been great with Melo at the four, but Bargnani — he brings a different dimension to our team, I think.
“I’ve got to get him up to speed defensively, but just like Melo’s a nightmare for people at the four, [Bargnani is] a nightmare for players at the four and five,” Woodson said. “I’ve just got to get him in and get him acclimated to what we’re doing, and get him comfortable — that’s the key with him. I’ve got to get him back to feeling good about himself. I think he’s an excellent ballplayer.”
– Kenyon Martin played valuable minutes for the Knicks last season, and is currently an unrestricted free agent. But that doesn’t mean that New York has ruled out bringing him back for next season.
“Kenyon is still majorly in our picture,” Woodson said. “I like everything about what Kenyon did for our ball club last season, so we’re still in that evaluation stage, as well.”
– Woodson said he has been impressed with the play of both Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler with the Knicks’ Summer League squad, and wants to try to bring them both to training camp before next season.