When the New York Knicks hired Mike Woodson as an assistant coach this past summer, many in the New York sports media believed the former Atlanta Hawks coach would eventually replace then-head coach Mike D’Antoni. Those inclinations became reality when D’Antoni—who was in the final year of his four-year, $24 million contract—resigned on March 15th.
Thus far, the former first-round draft selection of the Knicks (1980) has had a successful coaching stint in the Big Apple.
Under Woodson, New York has gone 10-3—five of those wins coming against playoff teams: Indiana (twice), Orlando (twice) and Philadelphia—compared to 18-24 this season under D’Antoni. With the exception of an awful fourth-quarter collapse against the Indiana Pacers on April 3rd, the offense hasn’t reverted back to the constant ball-stagnation that had become a major hindrance since Carmelo Anthony’s arrival last February.
While Woodson is off to a solid start at the Knicks’ helm, it remains to be seen whether or not the organization will try bringing in another coach.
Some fans would love seeing Phil Jackson make a return to the sidelines for the franchise he won his only NBA title as a player with in 1973.
Of course, the odds that the Zen Master will actually come out of retirement within the next few months to become the Knicks next head coach are about as high as LeBron James growing dreadlocks without help from a hair restoration product.
Even John Calipari’s name is speculatively being thrown around—which, in my personal opinion, would not be a wise move for either side.
Sure, bringing in a big-named coach is alluring, but it wouldn’t be a feasible or sensible move for New York. There’s really no one available that could take the reins and immediately improve the Knicks in a sizeable way.
Mike Woodson definitely doesn’t posses the brand-recognition factor of a Phil Jackson or John Calipari, but he is an experienced coach who has already shown he can help bring about positive results to this current Knicks squad. His success so far is even more impressive after considering how injuries have affected the team since he took over, with Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin each going down for an extended period of time.
Woodson still has 11 games left in the regular season to help bolster his worth to the franchise that made him the No. 12 overall pick in the NBA draft 22 years ago. If the Knicks hold off the Milwaukee Bucks from snagging the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed in the playoffs, management should reward the Indiana University alum by naming him as the head coach beyond the culmination of this season.