Another familiar face joins the head coaching shortlist. According to a report, the New York Knicks will interview Mike Woodson.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the New York Knicks plan to interview Mike Woodson. The longtime NBA coach is well aware of what it takes to win in New York. Although he wasn’t able to find sustained success during his short tenure as Knicks head coach, he did lead the team to a 54-win season and a playoff series win.
Originally an assistant, Woodson took over in 2012 after Mike D’Antoni resigned midseason. New York was 109-79 with Woodson as head coach.
Woodson is the fourth reported candidate in the Knicks’ search. Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson, and current interim head coach Mike Miller are all reported to be under consideration for the job.
What This Means
Well, the Knicks appear to have a type. What’s the single thread holding Thibodeau, Atkinson, Miller, and Woodson together? They were all Knicks assistants at one point.
We can suss out that team president Leon Rose is looking for someone who knows New York and Madison Square Garden. Each coach brings a unique perspective and style to the table, but the experience in New York is the common denominator in this coaching search so far.
But moving onto Woodson specifically, the man has experience as an assistant and as the head coach. In fact, Woodson is the only coach since Jeff Van Gundy to finish his Knicks tenure with a winning record. The 2012-13 season is fondly remembered by fans and for good reason. The Knicks cruised to the two-seed in the Eastern Conference and even won a playoff series for the first time since 2000.
Under Woodson, the Knicks were actually ahead of the curve in many ways. Woodson also convinced Carmelo Anthony to slide over to the four spot so they could play small-ball type lineups that emphasized the three-point shot. During that 2012-13 season, New York led the league in three-pointers, make and take. Despite hoisting a whopping 2,371 threes that year, they still finished top-five in three-point percentage (37.6%).
A slew of Knicks had career-years during that magical season, including Melo’s lone scoring title and an All-NBA Second Team selection. Sure, J.R. Smith may have disappeared in the playoffs, but no one can take away his Sixth Man of the Year award.
On the flip side, the Knicks took a significant step back in Woodson’s second full year. Smith took a significant step back, Melo was forced to play a league-leading 38.7 minutes per game, and the Andrea Bargnani trade did not go as planned.
Woodson hasn’t been a head coach since that short stint with the Knicks, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Since departing New York in 2014, Woodson has worked as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers, a perennial playoff team. Woodson has been one of Doc Rivers’ top assistants during that time period.
Was the NBA lifer perfect as Knicks bench boss? No, but he was better than almost everyone else they’ve hired between now and Van Gundy. However, that’s not the question right now.
Is he better than the other candidates on the list? Only time will tell.