Breaking Down Mike Woodson's Future with the New York Knicks

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Breaking Down Mike Woodson's Future with the New York Knicks
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Mike Woodson's future with the New York Knicks is becoming increasingly dubious with each inexplicable Knicks loss. 

Under Woodson this season, the Knicks have fallen to a dismal 7-17 on the season, pioneering innovative ways to lose throughout their underwhelming journey. 

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However, the Knicks' recent loss to the Washington Wizards perhaps marked the team's most baffling collapse of the season.

After overcoming a 15-point third quarter deficit, the Knicks had a lead in the game's final minutes. Then, following some offensive heroics from Bradley Beal and a complete lapse in judgment by Mike Woodson, the Knicks once again found themselves defeated and bewildered.

With just eight seconds left in the game, Bradley Beal blew past Beno Udrih on the wing en route to an alarmingly uncontested go-ahead lay up. At that point, everybody in Madison Square Garden figured the Knicks would take a timeout and draw up a play to get Carmelo Anthony a decent look at a game-winner.

Everybody except Mike Woodson, of course. 

Instead, Woodson stood irresolutely on in front of the Knicks's bench while 'Melo dribbled awkwardly up the sideline and launched a clumsy runner that barely reached the basket. 

Woodson's decision not to call a timeout is analogous to the way he's coached the team all season. He seems to continually employ strategies that prevent his team from winning. As a result, the Knicks own the fourth worst record in the NBA, and Woodson's days as head coach could be numbered. 

Woodson's inability to produce seems inconceivable given the Knicks' current roster. Put simply, the team is stocked with talent, yet Woodson constantly mismanages his players, soiling his reputation with the organization and leaving the Knicks in a perpetual state of turmoil. 

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It doesn't help that Knicks owner James Dolan expected a championship this season. Moreover, Dolan's history of impulsive decision-making could mean that Woodson's departure is even more imminent than it appears. 

Tonight the Knicks take on the 5-19 Milwaukee Bucks in a game that is beginning to look like judgement day for Mike Woodson. 

Should the Knicks fall to the NBA's worst team, Dolan could very well do away with Woodson by the end of the week. 

Moreover, even if the Knicks beat the Bucks, Woodson's leash will only loosen slightly. He will still be considered, by most, to be the root of the Knicks' problems this year, on and off the court. 

Woodson has gradually been burning bridges with some of his most important players as the Knicks continue their downward spiral.

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From the beginning of the season, Woodson's relationship with Iman Shumpert has been strained. Of course, this dynamic has been compounded by swirling trade rumors, however Woodson has repeatedly treated Shumpert in a somewhat juvenile manner. 

In the Knicks' loss to the Indiana Pacers on November 20, Woodson benched Shumpert for all of overtime after the young guard committed an ill-advised foul on Paul George that allowed the Pacers to force overtime.

However, it was Shumpert's ability to guard George that kept the Knicks in the game in the first place.

More recently, Woodson engaged in a spat with reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith during a win over the Chicago Bulls on December 11. The disagreement centered around Smith's shot selection, so, in silent protest, the notoriously temperamental shooting guard attempted only one field goal in the Knicks' next game, a loss to the Boston Celtics

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Though it is just a December regular season game between two of the NBA's doormats, the Knicks' game tonight has enormous implications for Woodson. He is in desperate need of a statement win.

And although a win over the Bucks isn't quite a statement, any sign of life will go a long way towards extending his tenure in New York. 

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