Firing Mike Woodson Now Would Be Completely Wrong for NY Knicks

Ciaran GowanContributor IIINovember 18, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16:  New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson looks on during the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on November 16, 2013 in New York City. The Hawks defeat the Knicks 110-90.  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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New York Knicks are struggling, and something needs to change soon. But that doesn't mean head coach Mike Woodson should be fired, at least not yet.

As bad as the Knicks have been to open the season, we must remember that it's only been a matter of weeks, and there's still plenty of time for a turnaround. Making a rash coaching change now could completely derail the season.

Until Tyson Chandler is back, we're not going to know exactly how good New York is, and it'd be unfair to end Woodson's tenure based on a stretch in which he was mostly without his best defensive player.

With all that said, Woodson certainly deserves a portion of the blame for the Knicks' slow start. While he can't be blamed for J.R. Smith's suspension, Carmelo Anthony's shooting or the persistent trade rumors surrounding the team, his decision-making has been poor.

STAT and Woodson have clashed over minutes.
STAT and Woodson have clashed over minutes.Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

He's made a complete hash out of the frontcourt rotation, with both Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin speaking out against his limited usage of both players, which came despite the team's desperate need for size inside.

Considering their age and injury history, it's fair to keep them both on minutes limits, but when it gets to the point where STAT is trotting out for five minutes at a time, that's a step too far. For a player like Stoudemire, it's almost impossible to be effective without being given time to get in rhythm.

Elsewhere, the Knicks have struggled defensively on the perimeter (as they did last season), with Raymond Felton being the main culprit. In a situation like this, it would make sense to give Toure' Murrywho made the team based on his defense and offensive penetrationa shot off the bench, but the rookie has played just nine minutes all season.

There's a good case to be made that the Knicks should look for alternatives to Woodson at the end of the season, but to fire him now would be problematic for a number of reasons. The team is already in turmoil as it stands, and adding a coaching search to the mix would complete a recipe for disaster.

James Dolan has been on typical form this season, making New York an unattractive location for any potential coaching alternative.
James Dolan has been on typical form this season, making New York an unattractive location for any potential coaching alternative.David Dow/Getty Images

At this point, there's no good coach out there who'd want to take this job. Why would anyone want to deal with a team owned by James Dolan, with its best playerwho actually has a good relationship with Woodsonpotentially leaving at the end of the year? It's not an attractive situation for any coach.

Phil Jackson has been critical of the Knicks' roster, George Karl has likely had enough of Smith and Carmelo Anthony from his time with the Denver Nuggets, and Lionel Hollins would be better off waiting for a more secure job. If New York wants to make a coaching change right now, it'd have to aim much lower.

The Knicks' best course of action right now would be to let the season play out with Woodson in charge. When the offseason comes around, they can let Melo decide whether or not they should make a change, in an effort to keep him in orange and blue. If he leaves, then New York can consider a younger coach as they look to start a long rebuilding process.

Either way, making the change now makes little sense. Woodson is under contract for the next two years and in terms of win-loss record has been one of the best coaches in franchise history. Considering how much of this weak start has been out of his control, it's only fair to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if he can turn this ship around.