New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will have a full plate this season. He has the tough task of satisfying two superstars in Carmelo Anthony and A’mare Stoudemire, which former coach Mike D’Antoni could not do in the year and half that he had the duo. D’Antoni stepped down as coach midway through last season, leaving the door open for Woodson, who was an assistant, to take the reins. He was announced as the full-time head coach, dropping the “interim” tag, on May 25, 2012.
Woodson actually played for the Knicks back in 1980-1981, and over the course of his ten year NBA career, averaged 14.0 PPG. He also achieved success as a coach, most notably of the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010. In ATL, he accumulated the fourth highest win total in franchise history (206), and the Hawks improved their win total each of the six seasons under him. Woodson led Atlanta to three straight play-off appearances in his last three seasons, including consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in the last two.
With the preseason is in full blast and the NBA season quickly approaching, Woodson couldn’t be happier with the depth of the Knicks in his first full season as head coach in NY. He is experienced with coaching deep teams due to his work in Atlanta, and will use that experience to better New York. There are games that “sometimes the best player is sitting on the bench at the end,” Woodson said. “There were nights in Atlanta when Joe Johnson, or Jamal Crawford was on the bench [down the stretch], based on how guys are playing in the game. It comes down to who wants it the most in crunchtime and who I believe can get it done down the stretch.”
The Knicks have a team that is loaded with veteran players such as Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, who want to win. Their head coach isn’t worried about hurting any feelings, because he believes that everyone will buy into the team concept.
“If you look at the makeup of our team, there are going to be times when one guy is having a big night. But then there are nights when someone else like Carmelo [Anthony], Amar’e [Stoudemire], or Tyson Chandler, or Raymond Felton, or Steve Novak is going to have big nights. We have guys that can play lots of minutes, guys to make shots. … But ultimately, guys just want to win.”
Coaching the New York Knicks under some of the most magnifying lights in sports is daunting, but I wouldn’t want anyone else on the bench for NYK than Mike Woodson.