With the New York Knicks up 25 points early in the forth quarter versus the lowly Washington Wizards, the game was very much in hand and set for yet another win for the Knickerbockers. Yet, coach Mike Woodson thought it would be a good idea to leave Kenyon Martin, a 35-year-old 12-year veteran, who had been on a minutes restriction and dealing with a nagging knee injury coming into the game, on the floor.
Woodson has exhibited this same type of stubbornness as it pertains to taking players out of the game, particularly when said player can be unnecessarily left vulnerable to sustaining an injury. We saw this earlier in the year when Woodson refused to take Carmelo Anthony out of the game, even after Anthony himself requested to be taken out. Woodson’s inability to not only listen to his players but also properly assess the situation as a whole has led to Carmelo missing some games and Martin with a sprained ankle.
Obstinacy aside, Coach Woodson has done an amazing job for the Knicks, leading them to a 51-27 record, the likes of which has not been seen by New York fans in 20 years. In stark contrast to his predecessor Mike D’Antoni, who was more fond of communicating to his players through the media as opposed to direct confrontation, Woodson has been fearless in getting his players’ faces and holding them accountable for their mistakes. His method of coaching has led to the best season the Knicks have seen in 20 years, a very motivated MVP and scoring title candidate in Carmelo and a well rounded sixth man of the year candidate in J.R. Smith.
No body is perfect, and although Woody has done a nearly perfect job with the Knicks, plugging the leaks and holes in J.R.’s game and electing to give the very offensively efficient Chris Copeland more playing time, among other things, Woodson himself needs to be held accountable for leaving Kenyon in a blowout game and susceptible to injury.
If Woodson can plug some of his own leaks the way he has done for many of the players he coaches, the New York Knicks would have an even greater chance of maximizing their abilities and making a deep run into the playoffs.