Part of this is that players never say anything bad about a coach days away from handing out playoff minutes (well, unless you are Dwight Howard), but there is also a real groundswell behind Knicks Mike Woodson right now — the team is 16-6 under him as interim coach.
After the season ends (meaning after the first round of the playoffs), the Knicks have to make a decision about the coach for next season.
Carmelo Anthony (not shockingly) and Amare Stoudemire both backed Woodson for the full-time job, reports Newsday.
“I would love to see him around here past this year,” Anthony said. “Just to see what he’s brought to our team, the confidence that he’s instilled into everybody, the belief that he has in everybody. Just his coaching style, the way he’s coached, kind of a hard-nosed coach. Holds everybody accountable out there, saying that everybody is responsible for their own actions. I would love to see him back here.”
“Coach Woodson has done a great job for us,” Stoudemire said. “He’s done a phenomenal, phenomenal job. I love his attitude. I love his coaching style. It would be nice.”
If the Knicks surprise in the playoffs, Woodson’s job is safe. But the likely outcome is the Knicks get the Heat and get overwhelmed and sent packing pretty quickly.
Owner James Dolan is said to favor a big name — Phil Jackson will come up, although I still don’t think he wants to return to the sideline. Kentucky coach John Calipari’s name will come up no matter how much he denies interest. But Woodson is the bird in the hand and the team has responded to him. Woodson also did a good job building up the team in Atlanta when he was there. He’s a good choice.
Woodson can take this team forward, but if they are going to compete with the Heat and Bulls the question isn’t the coach but the talent level on the roster.