Former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson experienced success during his first stint with the team and he thinks he can recreate that magic.
Over the past few weeks, several candidates have emerged for the sought-after New York Knicks head coaching gig. The influx of suitors for the job has left the front office with plenty of well-deserving candidates, but one candidate, in particular, may have the right combination of determination and experience to fit the bill—Mike Woodson.
Currently serving as assistant coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, Woodson has received permission to interview for the vacant head coach job, where he believes he has some unfinished business to take care of. He spoke with SNY’s Ian Begley about why he feels like he’s the right man for the job.
“I did my job when I was here. We won games. The fan base was engaged. I walked out of the Garden many nights thinking that the fans were proud and excited about what we were doing,” Woodson said. “Am I capable of coming back to New York and helping them build a winning team again? I feel confident in that, I absolutely do.”
Woodson served as head coach of the Knicks for the franchise’s last playoff appearance back in 2013. While at the helm, Woodson’s Knicks finished as the No. 2 seed in the East before falling to the Indiana Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Despite being fired at the end of the following season, Woodson offered the brightest beacon of hope in recent years in New York.
Woodson’s Knicks were ahead of the curve in terms of implementing the deep ball into its offense. The 54-28 Knicks from 2012-13 averaged 28.9 three-point attempts per game—tied with the Rockets—nailing 37.6% in the process. Woodson believes his coaching philosophy will fit seamlessly into the modern NBA, mainly because of his early exposure to the new wave of NBA offense.
This adjustment will come in stride, but Woodson would enter a very different set of circumstances if he were to be hired. Whereas when he took over for Mike D’Antoni, the Knicks were filled with several established studs, the Knicks of today have players who still have room to develop. Woodson believes he is up to the task, especially regarding franchise centerpieces RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
“Both have beautiful futures in our league, they really do. But they’ve got to learn. There’s a learning curve that comes along with being a young player in our league. They both have to develop. Can I develop young players in our league? Absolutely. I’ve done it,” Woodson said.