Self-preservation is the quintessential life instinct. In human beings, it can manifest itself in any number of creative ways: Lying, cheating, stealing and—more common still—saying all the right things even when you know you’re probably doomed.
So it came as no surprise when, during an interview with ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco and Stephen A. Smith, Woodson sounded downright effusive in his praise for the move. (Via ESPN New York’s Ian Begley.)
I have a great deal of respect for Phil and what he's done over his coaching and his playing days in our league. He's been extremely successful. And if the Knicks are entertaining that, the guy's got a great basketball mind for the game.
Yeah, it really isn’t, though. Not when your team—a team that won 54 games a year ago, remember—is fighting for its playoff life in one of the weakest conferences in the history of North American sports.
The focus now turns to whether it will be Jackson himself who ends up giving Woodson the axe, or whether the Zen Master will wait until the season is over before burrowing headlong into the considerable mess that is the franchise’s future.
If that time comes, if and when that time comes, I would just love the chance to sit with him and talk basketball...This is 30 years I've spent in this league, so that's what we'll do. But until that happens, my focus is strictly on trying to get this team in the playoffs.
Translation: “I just want one chance to tell my side of the story. After all, I wasn’t the one who shopped for the groceries. I’m just paid to cook the—OK, now why are you reaching for that red button. Do you really want to do that, Phil? Let’s just talk about this a little mo—.”
Not everyone sees the Jackson hire as a game-changing boon, however. Take Posting & Toasting’s Seth Rosenthal, who, in an impassioned column penned on Monday, lambasted New York’s steadfast insistence on quick-fix solutions and big-name Band-Aids.
If I may: The Knicks are in a desert. The Knicks have a bottle of water. They dump the water in the sand because f--k the water. They become thirsty. Luckily, there is an oasis with more water. But f--k the water. The Knicks insist on having champagne airlifted in from thousands of miles away even though champagne is extremely expensive and might not last the trip intact and might make them drunk and disoriented and doesn't necessarily even quench thirst...Any other team drinks water when it's thirsty.
Whatever comes of Jackson’s tenure, Mike Woodson is most certainly a dead coach walking. As such, the course the Knicks chart for themselves from here on forward won’t be hinted at by whether Jackson lets him go, but the manner in which he does it.