Mike Woodson is not to blame for everything going on with the New York Knicks — he’s a good NBA coach trying to do the best he can with an ill-fitting roster. Last season New York was able to knock down a lot of threes and get 54 wins thanks to Carmelo Anthony having a career year (as did a couple other Knicks), but after roster changes this summer the threes are not falling this season, J.R. Smith isn’t himself and Tyson Chandler is out for a month as the defense swoons.
That sounds like a recipe for the front office to scapegoat a coach and ship him out of town, but Woodson’s job is safe in New York, reports the New York Daily News.
However, management is pressuring him to change the rotations, Frank Isola says in the report.
Despite the Knicks’ 3-6 start and five straight home losses, Woodson is not in imminent danger, according to a source, of being the next Knicks head coach to “resign” — which is Garden-speak for canned. If Lenny Wilkens and Mike D’Antoni both resigned, so will Woodson. Count on it.
Until then, the coach is safe, but the word from above is to tinker with the starting lineup, which likely will include shifting soon-to-be-traded Iman Shumpert to the bench and likely promoting veteran tough guy Kenyon Martin. The move allows Anthony to play small forward while placing a rebounding and defensive-minded forward next to Andrea Bargnani, a non-rebounding, defensively challenged forward/center.
Deck chairs on the Titanic comes to mind.
Actually, things are not that dire — at some point next month it is likely Chandler returns to help the defense and solidify them inside. Smith will find his stroke again. The Knicks are a playoff team in the East.
Just nothing more than that.
The Knicks thrived last year with Anthony having a career year playing mostly the four and everyone else fitting in around him, especially Smith. This season the Knicks seem committed to having him at the three again and using Bargnani to space the floor. The results have been uncomfortable. I’m not sure how you really can fit all these pieces together to make it work.
But that’s Woodson’s job. Combine all that with owner James Dolan’s unpredictability and it’s not hard to see how Woodson could become the scapegoat.