New York Knicks Should Ride out Mike Woodson, Recruit Phil Jackson Next Year

Ben Shapiro@benshapironyc1 Analyst IIIMarch 22, 2012

Interim head coach Mike Woodson has the Knicks listening and winning.
Interim head coach Mike Woodson has the Knicks listening and winning.Chris Chambers/Getty Images

It only took a few hours. 

A few hours after former New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni resigned last Wednesday, Phil Jackson's name was being bandied about as a possible replacement.

Now a full week later the Knicks, who are being coached on an interim basis by Mike Woodson, are in the midst of a five-game winning streak.

Phil Jackson?

Not now, we're busy.

Phil Jackson may very well be the best candidate to coach the Knicks on a long-term basis but there's no need to attempt to rush Jackson into the head coaching position. Not when Jackson himself has yet to even have a dialogue with Knicks owner James Dolan and not when Jackson himself is merely "fascinated" by the prospect of coaching the Knicks.

That five-game winning streak—the one the Knicks extended to five games last night against the Sixers—is another reason to allow the Mike Woodson era to play out this season. After all it's working pretty well.

Midseason coaching changes are never the preferred manner in which to transition a team to a new coaching regime. Ideally your outgoing coach leaves at the conclusion of one season and your new coach is in place well before the preseason of the following season.

There are times when circumstances dictate that this can't happen. The Knicks were in one of those situations one week ago when their coach resigned in the afternoon and the team had a game that evening.

Even if D'Antoni had not resigned, the Knicks may very well have chosen to fire him. The Knicks were in a bit of a free fall having lost six straight games dropping their record to a very unimpressive 18-24.

By the time D'Antoni and the Knicks chose to part ways, it was clear that the relationship between the two had become fractured beyond repair. When the situation deteriorates to that point that's when the time to make a dramatic midseason change may actually be the best choice for the team.

It's telling then that the Knicks didn't actually make the final decision. Perhaps the ownership would have had the Knicks lost to the Blazers last Wednesday. In the end it was D'Antoni pulling the trigger on his own tenure as Knicks coach and not the other way around. 

Now with Mike Woodson in place and the team playing much better basketball the best decision ownership could make would be to let the remainder of the season play out under interim coach Woodson. 

Phil Jackson will be a candidate to coach in New York but the team should wait until this season concludes.
Phil Jackson will be a candidate to coach in New York but the team should wait until this season concludes.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Knicks need to be able to asses what type of team they have with the players removed from D'Antoni's system. One or two weeks won't be enough to do it right. Not only should the Knicks wait to pursue Jackson but they would only do the current squad and its interim coach a disservice by discussing Jackson. 

The New York Knicks have had enough distractions, doubters and duality for one season. The players they have on the current roster are the ones who will lead the Knicks into or not into the postseason. Mike Woodson might not be the Knicks head coach when training camp starts next fall but he should remain the head coach through the end of this season regardless of when that end occurs.