Rapid Reaction: Woody named head coach
May, 25, 2012
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
WHAT IT MEANS: After leading the Knicks to an 18-6 record, their first playoff win in 11 years and getting support at season's end from Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, it seemed pretty clear that Mike Woodson would be named head coach. He officially took the reins on Friday night.
WHY IT HAPPENED: Because Woodson got the guys to play hard every night, and they not only averaged nearly 100 points per game, but also held opponents to 91.5 points per game -- the fourth-best mark in the league after March 14, when he took over for Mike D'Antoni. Even Anthony bought in. In fact, during the Knicks' late-season surge, Melo said he was playing harder and with more energy. That had Woodson written all over it.
So how did Woody do it? With his no-nonsense approach and knowing how to deal with the players. In fact, after the season, Jared Jeffries said on ESPN New York radio that Woodson was better at handling personalities, while D'Antoni was more focused on coaching.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks need some stability. The team has seen nearly 70 players come through New York in three years, and now with Woodson, it can build an identity from the top and solidify a permanent roster, at least for next season.
The biggest question mark hanging over Woodson's head: Can he institute creative enough sets that facilitate better ball movement and give Melo's teammates opportunities to score that cater to each of their strengths? Woody may need an offensive assistant, just like he was a defensive assistant for D'Antoni. That could be a big boost.
Overall, the Knicks have about seven roster spots to fill from now until training camp, so a lot of work remains. But with the support from the Big Three -- the leaders of the team -- Woodson was the best solution to build a culture in New York that demands accountability.
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