Mike Woodson catches a lot of flak from Knicks fans, but blaming just one person for this season’s misfortunes is taking the easy way out. Today, we give Coach Woodson a full pass, as we celebrate his 56th birthday.
Long before he ever thought about coaching, Woodson actually played for the Knicks. New York selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft, but he lasted just one season with the team, averaging only 4.7 points in 11.7 minutes per contest. Naturally, he was traded for a nobody, Mike Newlin (who retired after one season in New York), before going on to have a successful 11-year playing career. We may just have to do a piece on Mike Woodson the player, like we did for Phil Jackson.
As a coach, Woodson has had much more success, at least with New York. After taking over for Mike D’Antoni at the end of the 2011-12 season, he earned himself an extension by leading the team to 18 victories in 24 games. He followed it up by getting the Knicks to 54 wins and taking home the Atlantic Division crown for the first time in 19 years.
Some will harp on the negatives, but we here at Turn On The Knicks will always remember Woodson for bringing us so must joy last season. Plus, you have to respect someone who turned J.R. Smith into the Sixth Man of the Year!
Party on tonight, Coach Woodson. Maybe even bring J.R. with you!