When the New York Knicks made the decision to fire Mike D’Antoni last year, it was clear they needed a change, but nobody could’ve predicted what happened next.
The Knicks named Mike Woodson the interim head coach and the team embraced him with an 18-6 record to close out the regular season and a multi-year contract extension.
Despite losing in five games in the first round to the Miami Heat last season, the Knicks weren’t intimidated when they faced the defending champions in their season-opener. Instead, the Knicks defeated the Heat 104-84 in a statement victory.
Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Knicks have bought into Woodson’s system and as a result, they are the only undefeated team left in the NBA with a 5-0 record.
“I think all players want to be coached and it’s just a matter of you pushing the right buttons,” Woodson said. “Melo wants to be coached, he wants to win, he wants to do things the right way, so it’s my job to make sure that I put him in a position to be successful. Everybody’s got to try to buy in and see that it works. When the system is put in place, we’ve got to make sure that we at least attempt to do what’s asked.”
It’s not just that the Knicks have been able to win five games. They’ve won all five games by double-digits.
While Woodson is known for being an isolation coach, he’s been using a model similar to the San Antonio Spurs by predicating the offense on ball movement. As a result, the Knicks have the second-best offense with an average of 103.4 points per game.
Defensively, the Knicks have the best team, allowing just 87.8 points per game.
With the exception of the first 28 minutes of the Orlando Magic game, Anthony has actually been playing defense. Anthony struggled covering the pick-and-roll since he’s not accustomed to playing power forward, a position where players are used to set the picks.
Anthony also entered Wednesday night the scoring leader with 26.8 points per game, but his 7.4 rebounds is more impressive. He is considered by many around the league to be a one-dimensional player.
However, the most surprising thing about this team has to be that the inconsistent J.R. Smith has actually been consistent. Smith leads the NBA in 3-point shooting at 72.2-percent.
Just imagine what will happen to the Knicks when Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert come back healthy.