Mike Woodson Fires Back at Critics, Says 'I Can Take Any Team and Win'

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 29:  Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks coaches against the Denver Nuggets on November 29, 2013 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Two blowout losses and one nearly squandered 23-point lead later, New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is feeling bumptious.

Never mind that the Knicks are still nursing wounds from the 41-point slaughtering that they were handed by the Boston Celtics. Or that they're still trying to figure out how they lost by 15 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or that they nearly lost to the Chicago Bulls at home after being up 23. 

Never mind that they're still 6-15, a mere 1.5 games ahead of the last-place Milwaukee Bucks.

Woodson has got this.

Following New York's narrow victory over Chicago Wednesday night, Woodson pleaded his case with reporters, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, citing player minutes restrictions and Tyson Chandler's injury as driving forces behind the Knicks' dismal start. He then felt confident enough to say, "as a coach I can take any team and win."

Will Dolan keep Woodson?
Will Dolan keep Woodson?Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Somewhere, Knicks owner James Dolan is sipping a snifter of scotch and chortling as he aimlessly swings a flail over his head.

Backbones like Woodson's can be appreciated. You don't want your coach sobbing through postgame interviews, admitting to the world that he can neither coach nor trim his own goatee. You want that self-assured, headstrong leader. Perhaps that's what Woodson was trying to do here—show how determined he is.

Now is as good a time as any, after all. According to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, Carmelo Anthony and his teammates are starting to fear for Woodson's job themselves. In fact, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Knicks might already be exploring other options:

My sense from the latest coaching scuttle is that Woodson, even if he survives the crisis at hand, is only going to last until Dolan can find a bigger, splashier name to take over. The belief here is that the Knicks’ impresario, given his lack of draft and trade assets to make impactful changes to the talent, ultimately wants a superstar coach as much as he wants to re-sign Melo come July. Which is where Thibodeau comes in.

Pay special attention to that last part: New York is reportedly interested in Tom Thibodeau, the former Knicks assistant who is still under contract as head coach of the Bulls.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls gestures during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It figures. The Knicks have always been enraptured by Other People's Players (OPP), so it's only natural that they're now eyeing OPC—Other People's Coaches.

This could just be Woodson trying to save his job. It could even be a preemptive sales pitch for the next one. Front offices adore coaches who can take "any team and win."

"Look, it's Woodson," one general manager seeking a head coach will say. "He can win with anyone. Let's get him."

"Didn't he just coach the Knicks aground?" some other fearless employee will ask while frowning. 

"But, but, but—he said so," our anonymous, stammering GM will respond. "It must be true."

Whatever the motivation behind his recent sentiments, Woodson shouldn't pack his bags just yet. He led the Knicks to 54 wins last season, a successful campaign that the flail-wielding Dolan might remember. And the Knicks certainly aren't healthy.

"But at the end of the day, it’s still on me to try to get this team where I need to get it," Woody explained, via Berman.

It most certainly is. The Knicks are his responsibility until Dolan has seen enough—or until Thibs becomes available.