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Coming off their first round playoff exit to the Miami Heat last week, an overmatched – and rather underachieving – Knicks squad begin looking forward to next year and the potential changes that will come this offseason.
First and foremost, the Knicks need to address their coaching situation. Mike Woodson is expected to be have the interum tag removed from his title, and recieve the new contract he undoubtedly deserves.
Of course, you can never rule out the Knicks and team executive chairman James Dolan from doing the stupid thing by going for the more sexy (and expensive) coaching option out there in Phil Jackson – and the record 11 head coaching championships he bares.
Okay, getting a coach of Phil Jackson’s elite caliber isn’t stupid, but in this scenario, I assure you it is. Woodson makes more sense in so many ways. Jackson might be one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any professional sport even, but he’s old, he’s already retired, and has some pretty significant health concerns.
Bringing Jackson in to coach the Knicks might not make the team worse in an immediate sense, but what it will do is stunt the team’s progression and the continuity they have finally begun to develop under Woodson. As a matter of fact, that continuity is something that can only progress with the man who started it.
Since he took over for Mike D’Antoni in March, Woodson has brought more continuity for the Knicks than Lenny Wilkins and Larry Brown (two Hall of Fame coaches in their own right) have done combined.
The winning percentage of the games Woodson coached may have been a small sample in making comparison, but I think it should speak for itself, acknowledging what he is capable of, if given the opportunity. He did the unthinkable by getting the Knicks to consistently play defense for a stretch of 20-plus games, which was the integral reason they managed to lock up a playoff spot.
As a team, the Knicks haven’t played defense this well since Jeff Van Gundy was their coach, more than ten years ago. Under Woodson’s helm, Carmelo Anthony was able to get his act together for a good stretch of games, finally resembling the top 5 player they traded half their team for last February. Woodson has developed a good rapport not only with Anthony, but every other notable Knicks player that you can expect to return for 2012-13.