TOK Roundtable – The Final Mike Woodson Edition

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Every now and then, the Turn On The Knicks staff will debate an issue surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, and follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.

Because we too often harp on the negatives, say something positive about Mike Woodson.

Chris Celletti - Booooooo! Positivity is boring! Its comical; only in Knicks Land does it feel like you’re going against the grain, or it feels like a chore, to say something positive about the coach who owns the 3rd highest winning percentage in team history. His best season, 2012-13, was the franchise’s most successful in over a decade, and saw them advance in the playoffs after a similar drought. But this past year nearly ruined the notion that the Knicks won 54 games in 2013 in spite of Woodson, not because of him. Maybe we should add 54 wins and 28 losses to Jason Kidd’s coaching record? Have you seen how the Nets have (successfully) played the Miami Heat this season? Looked like mirror images of the 2013 Knicks.

Anyways, Woodson still did some good things here with the Knicks. He should be credited with getting a career year out of J.R. Smith in 2013, keeping him in check enough, and giving him a hefty bit of responsibility which he took and ran with. Of course, J.R. can only be controlled so much, and his elbow in Game 3 against the Celtics threw a monkey wrench into the Knicks’ postseason plans, but we certainly can’t blame Woodson for that. Woody did as good a job as any coach could do for a season with a tough personality and project like J.R. Smith. He also started his tenure at 18-6, saving the Knicks from another bad season, no-playoff embarrassment during the lockout-shortened year. And it must be mentioned, he provided an endless stream of stone-faced reactions that will live in Knicks lore forever and ever.

Kevin Smith - Mike Woodson was the perfect coach for J.R. Smith. It was fun to chronicle the adventures of a stern, father-like coach and a wild, enigmatic player, and things only got sour when the team stopped winning. Not many people would have been able to convince J.R. to come off of the bench and succeed while doing so. En route to taking home last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, Smith averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game, and although his scoring average fell of this past season, he did shoot almost 40 percent from downtown and was big part of the Knicks too-little-too-late turnaround to finish things out. It will be interesting to see if the next coach in line will be able to harness Smith as effectively as Woody was able to.

If I had to pick out one favorite moment from the relationship, this would definitely be it:

Dave Nowinski – Mike Woodson’s tough love coaching approach brought stability to the Knicks for a couple of seasons. Woodson, unlike his predecessor, Mike D’antoni, held his players accountable for their actions on and off the court. His complicated relationship with J.R. Smith highlighted that Woodson actually cared for his players. In the 2012-13 season, Smith actually responded to Woodson’s “fatherly advice” and became the Sixth Man of the Year. Woodson’s greatest quality was that he held all his players accountable, whether it was the lowly backup point guard, Beno Udrih, or superstar Carmelo Anthony. Woodson was an old school coach who didn’t deal with any B.S., and admirably always stood up for his players.

Max MarcillaThis past season was a disaster, and there is no way around that statement. A team with sky-high expectations couldn’t even finish with a .500 record, let alone make the playoffs. But, there were some fun moments from the 2012-13 season. Although Woodson and the Knicks still had their fair share of flaws, the team won a playoff series for the first time in over a decade, and re-energized the Knicks organization, at least for the time being. Also, he did have a pretty sweet goatee.

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