Assessing the NY Knicks' Coaching Staff's Early Season Performance

Andrew BurtonCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21:  Head coach Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks argues a call in the game against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When Coach Mike Woodson took over the team, a beautiful thing began for the New York Knicks franchise—they started winning!

Woodson has exceeded expectations since grabbing the reins from Mike D'Antoni, but he's not ready to kick it into cruise control yet.

He's led this team to a 39-14 regular season record since he took over at the end of last year.

Coach Woodson is campaigning for the Coach of the Year award, and many believe it's his to lose. 

A major part of his success has been getting offensive players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to play selfless basketball and hard-nosed defense. 

Because Woody emphasizes defense, it's easy to see the success he's having with guys like Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer and Tyson Chandler.

Also, with the collection of veterans on this team, everyone buys into the head coach's defensive ways. 

He's transformed this Knicks team from competitors in the Eastern Conference to a team that could very well contend in the NBA Finals. They need enough offense to compliment that defense, but it appears that they now have that. 

Have you seen the way New York has been shooting the ball?

It's safe to give partial credit to shooting coach Dave Hopla.

New York finished last season 18th in the league in field goal percentage with a 44.3 percent mark and averaged 97.8 points per game.

With the first quarter of the NBA season in the books, the Knicks currently sit 13th in the league with a  44.8 percent mark in field goals made and average 102.2 points per game. 

The increase in points per game could be credited to superb three-point shooting, something Hopla has preached. 

This year, New York shoots three-pointers at a 39 percent rate, an increase from last season's 33 percent. 

It's important for these shooters to have fresh legs, and that's where the trainers come in to play.

Head athletic trainer Roger Hinds has his hands full with this aging team. 

The Knicks have been struggling with injuries since the preseason, but that hasn't prevented Hinds from bettering his team through proper diagnostics. 

For example, is reporting that Raymond Felton has fractured the pinkie on his shooting hand. At first it was believed that Felton would only miss a game or two, but following a thorough examination, the point guard could be out four to six weeks. 

Had the athletic trainer missed this injury or misdiagnosed it, Felton could've hurt himself even more. The Knicks would've suffered more than they will as of now—and how many times have we seen a second opinion being needed? 

New York has a very experienced staff available to them, and they're an excellent staff at that. 

This coaching staff has put the Knicks in a better position than they were last year, and they're surely a great group doing a great job with a great franchise.