Woodson coaches basketball, and he wanted to keep doing it. Even after getting fired, he still wants to keep doing it.
“Keeping my eyes on coaching,” Woodson said during a phone interview to promote his golf tournament. “I want to get back into coaching. So that’s my next move. So we’ll see what happens. … That’s a big goal. That’s what I’m going to push to do, absolutely.”
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Four teams – the Lakers, Timberwolves, Jazz and Knicks – already have vacancies, and the Pistons completed a season with an interim coach. More jobs will open, but after last year’s whirlwind coaching carousel, everything projects to be a little quieter this year.
Could Woodson land one of those jobs?
As much as Knicks fans don’t want to hear it right now, Woodson is an OK coach. The Hawks got better in each of his six seasons in Atlanta, and he immediately boosted the Knicks when taking over midseason for Mike D’Antoni and then helped New York sustain success the following year. Woodson has the third-best winning percentage in Knicks history, and his teams were hardly loaded with talent.
However, his allegiances to certain players – looking at you J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani – were problematic. His switching pick-and-roll strategy, with the Knicks’ personnel at least, was infuriating. And his isolation-based offense was unimaginative.
Woodson’s biggest problem is there are a surplus of good coaches available. George Karl and Lionel Hollins sat out last season, and Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy are available, too. There are more intriguing college coaches – Kevin Ollie, Fred Hoiberg, Tom Izzo, John Calipari and, I guess, Roy Williams – than usual. And there are the typical crop of assistant coaches ready for their first opportunity.
Why hire Woodson if you can get a coach with a better track record? Why hire Woodson if you can get a coach with more upside?
Woodson is trapped in the middle, competition squeezing him from both sides.
If he wants to remain in the game, Woodson might have to settle for assistant coaching or coaching in college. He could definitely land a job at either of those levels.
I don’t think Woodson’s NBA head-coaching career is over, but he’s not quite good enough to land a third chance fresh off being fired – not in this buyers’ market, at least.