The Knicks were frustrated at the end of the loss to the Pacers — at one end Iman Shumpert brushed Paul George on the elbow during his three pointer and was called for a foul. At the other end on the final shot, Carmelo Anthony helped create a lot more body contact with George but there was no call on ‘Melo’s shot.
That frustration just cost Knicks coach Mike Woodson $25,000.
With the 3-8 Knicks needing every edge they can get, Woodson went with the “our star isn’t getting enough respect from the refs” line of arguments in an interview on ESPN Radio, as transcribed by our friends at Newsday (hat tip to SLAM).
“Absolutely not,” Woodson said Thursday on ESPN Radio. “I’m not going to shy away from that either. I think Melo gets hit more than ever….
“I’ve been at this thing 30 years,” Woodson said. “Sometimes I’m starting to wonder what’s a foul and what’s not a foul. What are you going to do? They can’t see everything and I understand that. Sometimes they miss calls. I thought he got bumped on it. Hell, he didn’t get the call so we have to move on.”
The league is consistent — players or coaches who criticize referees get fined. So the league came down with a $25,000 fine on Woodson Friday for those comments.
Woodson will gladly pay it if it gets his guy some calls… well, not gladly, but it’s less painful.
Anthony’s free throw rate (the number of free throw attempts per field goal attempts) is at .339, which is really close to the .344 he got last season. His free throw rate in general has been lower in New York than it was in Denver — because in Denver he attacked the rim more and didn’t settle for jumpers.
This was Woodson just trying to get an advantage, as he should. But Anthony has not been the problem with the Knicks offense — he remains an elite scorer in this league. It’s the lack of consistent help around him that is the bigger issue. And that’s not on the refs.
Who says Mike Woodson is an old-school, hard-ass coach. You work hard for him, you get some perks.
Woodson, the current Knicks coach, was on “The Game 365” on MSG Network, and the show was such a snoozer that just about everybody tuned out. Everybody but the folks at nba247365.com, and they were rewarded with a great story from when Woodson coached the Hawks.
“When players come to work, you don’t know what to expect,” Woodson said. “Prime example: Zaza Pachulia comes into my office…”
Zaza: Hey coach, can you let me out of practice today?
Woodson: For what?
Zaza: Man, I got a hot date.
Woodson: Are you kidding me? Do you love this girl?
Zaza: Nah coach, I can’t be in love, I’m too young.
Woodson: I take it you aren’t gonna marry this girl then?
Zaza: Nah, coach.
I’m pretty sure even the Zen master Phil Jackson would have unleashed a few swear words on Pachulia at this point. Woodson?
“Yeah, I let him go,” said Woodson, “but only because he worked his butt off for me.”
Raymond Felton, I wouldn’t recommend you try this.
We brought you the report the other day that Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith doesn’t want to be a sixth man, he wants to start. And with Iman Shumpert still out for a while following knee surgery Smith sees an opening in the starting lineup.
But coach Mike Woodson is standing in his way.
Woodson was asked about Smith moving into the starting five and balked at the idea. Here are his quotes, via the New York Post.
“I kind of like J.R. where he is in terms of coming off the bench, but he could start, too, you never know,’’ Woodson said. “Everybody can’t start. I’ve got a nice mixture of guys in that starting unit from an offensive standpoint. I have to have some offense coming off the bench as well.
“Like I told J.R., if he comes off, there’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, he could be the best player coming off the bench in this league and maybe be the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Hopefully that will translate to a lot of wins and get us to a championship round because at the end of the day that’s what we’re in it for.’’
I agree that good teams have a sixth man who can come in and change a game, putting up points and changing the tempo and flow of the game (think Manu Ginobili). I agree that what matters is who finishes a game, not starts. And I agree that if he were consistent for a season Smith could be in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
But Woodson was starting rookie Mychel Thompson at the two guard with the starting team. There comes a time when the desire to have a sixth man of importance should give way to making sure your clear and away best player at a position gets the most minutes.