After starting 2014 6-1 and having some very impressive wins, the Knicks have returned to their 2013 form.
Coming off three straight losses, the Knicks are struggling to get help from anyone outside of Carmelo Anthony. Not only are his fellow teammates failing him, but New York’s coaching staff is doing little to support ‘Melo.
Coaches are extremely important in the NBA; there is no denying it. Every good team in the game today has a very good coach. Gregg Popovich, Frank Vogel and Scott Brooks are among them—Mike Woodson is not.
Woodson is not a bad coach, but he is absolutely the wrong coach for this team.
New York needs someone who not only demands his players’ respect, but someone who actually receives that respect. It’s obvious that the Knicks do not respect Mike Woodson the way they should.
After the loss to the Pacers, Carmelo Anthony told reporters that the Pacers had made adjustments at halftime while the Knicks “didn’t make the adjustment back to it,” as reported by the New York Post's Marc Berman. The frustration on Carmelo’s face was clear throughout the game and carried over into his postgame interviews.
Anthony was not the only Knick to voice his opinion on the Knicks' game plan, however. According to the New York Daily News' Peter Botte, Tyson Chandler spoke to reporters after the loss to the Clippers, stating that New York has to “be a little more strategic” on both sides of the ball.
Not only are Anthony's and Chandler’s statements jabs at the coaching staff, they’re also completely correct. The Knicks have consistently failed to adjust in any manner this entire year. Whether it’s in-game changes or modifications after a game, the Knicks haven’t done anything to improve.
Woodson has been stubborn with his lineups all year, constantly refusing to go to the small-ball lineup that the Knicks so obviously thrive in. Determined to start an awfully disappointing Andrea Bargnani has been a mistake that doesn’t seem like it will ever be corrected.
There is no hope for the Knicks this year, but Mike Woodson should remain coach for this entire season. The best-case scenario for this team is they make a trade and their role players start to play well.
The Knicks have no chance of getting past the second round of the playoffs and are only going to make the playoffs because of how dreadful their division and conference is this year.
Firing Woodson this season would be pointless. No coach can turn around the disaster this team is right now.
Woodson’s supposed to be a defensive-minded coach, but the Knicks rank 23rd in the league in opponents' field-goal percentage and last in the league in opponents' free throws per game. The Knicks are also allowing opponents to shoot 60.6 percent from less than five feet from the hoop, which is the sixth worst in the league.
While these stats are not all Woodson’s fault, he definitely deserves some of the blame. With the Knicks constantly switching on screens, other teams easily exploit their defense. Whether it’s Andrea Bargnani ending up on a point guard or Raymond Felton fronting 7-footers, the switches never end well. Yet, the Knicks continue to stick with it 40 games into the season.
The Knicks do not have the right players for Woodson’s system, and Woodson is not the right coach for these players. It’s almost as if there is a standoff between the two sides; the players are not adjusting to Woodson and Woodson is not adjusting to the players.
The Knicks need a coach who would have never dealt with J.R.’s gimmicks, who realizes how much better they are in small lineups and who the players respect and want to win for.
Most of all, the Knicks need a coach who Carmelo Anthony wants and believes in, because if they lose ‘Melo, there’s no telling how brutal this team will be.
All stats via nba.com/stats.
Follow me on Twitter: @Stevo_Korn.