Let us begin with a rather colossal caveat: Mike Woodson—New York Knicks head coach, vessel for so much of the rage resulting from his team's train-wreck season—seems like a pretty good dude.
I would be happy to do a number of things with Mike Woodson. Play cards. Talk basketball. Bow-hunt caribou with the Inuit.
I’m just not sure I’d want him coaching the Knicks anymore. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
Not surprisingly, Woodson begs to differ:
More Woodson: “If they bring me back, I’m going to make damn sure this kind of season doesn’t happen again.”— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) April 16, 2014
Woodson on his future: "Is it fair to let me go? I don't think so."— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) April 16, 2014
Mike Woodson: “Am I the guy for the job? I’m the only guy for the job.” #Knicks— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) April 16, 2014
Agree or disagree, the first two tweets, when approached in a certain light, make some semblance of sense. To wit: Should the Knicks retain Carmelo Anthony, there’s no holy way next year’s Knicks will even be in the same galaxy of awful as this year’s super-massive basketball black hole.
And Woodson’s kind of, sort of right in suggesting he doesn’t necessarily deserve to be the one and only fall guy for his team’s failures.
Although, on the other hand, yes he does. Here’s Bleacher Report’s own Dan Favale back in March:
One team can only withstand so much blatant incompetency on the sideline before admitting defeat. Player energy isn't entirely on Woodson. Missed shots aren't on him, either. Poor rotations, nonexistent accountability and porous defensive sets are all on him. Much of what the Knicks are going through is on him, on his failure to adequately do his job.
But it’s the third tweet that proves the most interesting. Indeed, to suggest you’re the “only guy” capable of coaching a professional basketball team is either delusion of the highest order, a clarion call of loyalty to your troops or some weird hybrid of the two.
And the "only guy" for the job probably would have had better luck getting his players to embrace his philosophies.
Amar'e Stoudemire: "There were times when we didn’t quite buy into (Mike Woodson's system) and as a result of that, we lost games." #Knicks— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 17, 2014
Gregg Popovich could train a lawnmower to make Swiss watches. Pretty sure he could teach the New York Knicks not to switch on every 1-5 screen.
Heck, Woodson’s own boss could’ve taken over this team and guided it to 45 wins, easily. The new guy, what’s his name…Paul…Paula Poundstone…No…Paul Johns…Jacks…Phil Jackson! That guy.
It will likely take a while for the Knicks to make their final decision—a few face-to-face meetings between Woodson and the New York’s new, Buddha-infused brass, some due diligence on the headhunting front.
Is it a 100 percent lock Woodson is gone? Honestly, no. When all’s said and done, Jackson might well err on the side of stability, hire an assistant keen on the intricacies of the triangle offense and demand Woodson install something resembling a coherent offensive system going forward—Carmelo Anthony or no.
Woodson deserves applause for standing strong (however delusional the stance), sticking up for his guys—as he did in this interview with Newsday’s Al Iannazzone—and not reacting to the undeniably torturous New York media by flipping over podiums and taking an axe to Beno Udrih’s locker. Which, let’s face it, we’d all be tempted to do.
We just can’t help but read these tweets and hear the house band playing on a sinking Titanic.