If the early going is any indication, the New York Knicks need to give Mike Woodson the head coaching job for next year. He's had as impressive a first five games as any coach could be reasonably expected to have.
In his first five games as the head coach of the Knicks, the team has won all five games by an average margin of 16.8 points. As reported by ESPN from the Elias Sports Bureau, here are the top-five first five games in NBA history.
Largest PPG Differential First Five Games After Coaching Change
|'66-67||Alex Hannum PHI||23.2|
|'11-12||Mike Woodson NYK||18.6|
|'79-80||Paul Westhead LAL||16.8|
|'79-80||Bill Fitch BOS||16.6|
|'71-72||Bill Sharman LAL||15.2|
Like I said, you can't ask for much more. I suppose you could say he should have finished first, but we'll cut him some slack.
The Knicks had dropped into the ninth spot out of the playoff picture, now they're suddenly only three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers and closing fast to take over the Atlantic Division.
I'm not trying to be the harbinger of bad things to come here, but the Knicks would be wise to prevent them. Part of the reason the team has been so successful is that the team is composed largely of talented veterans who are committing to a system.
Carmelo Anthony is taking less shots and allowing the young Jeremy Lin to take on a prominent role. Antony and Amar'e Stoudmire are playing aggressive defense. They are doing everything they are asked to do and they are doing well.
Winning is a heck of a motivator, and they are playing inspired ball. Right now though, there's a bit of a honeymoon stage going on. You see it a lot when a new coach takes over. Sooner or later though they're going to hit a rough patch.
At that point it's going to be a real test to the Knicks' new found success. The measure of whether they'll be able to pass that test depends on how much the players are going to respect Woodson, and the best thing the Knicks can do to help him with that is remove that "interim" from his title.
Through the early stages of his brief stint with the Knicks, Woodson has proven that he has the ability to coach the team successfully. Now it's just a matter of whether he has the power to do so. Nothing would do that more than a shiny new contract.