Mike Woodson‘s winning percentage as the head coach of the New York Knicks is .679. There is only one coach in Knick history with a better winning percentage: Pat Riley, who narrowly edges Woodson with a clean .680.
Granted, Woodson has only coached the team for 106 regular season games since he took over for Mike D’Antoni in the middle of the 2011-12 season. He coached the Knicks for the team’s final 24 games that season, going 18-6 down the stretch to get the Knicks into the playoffs after they struggled under D’Antoni to begin the lockout shortened season 18-24. Despite their first-round playoff exit, it was a good season.
In Woodson’s first full season at the helm last year, he led the club to a 54-28 record and their first playoff series win since the 1999-2000 season. Their regular season win total was the most since the 1996-97 season under Jeff Van Gundy.
The Knicks’ roster has stayed more or less the same in Woodson’s tenure, but it still is a roster he had no say in putting together. Regardless, he has done a tremendous job in getting J.R. Smith to perform on an All-Star level; he has reinforced Tyson Chandler as one of the most imposing presences down low in the game, and he has given Knicks fans a reminder of what successful basketball is like at Madison Square Garden.
But for all that he’s done right, he is still going to end up being the Knicks’ scapegoat for their terrible start to this season. At 20-32, Woodson has no control over the team’s fate the rest of the way. That can be blamed on him, sure, but I am unwilling to believe there is any coach out there who could do a better job than he has with this current group of players.
If I were Woodson, I’d want out as soon as possible. He will get a job coaching in the NBA as soon as next year. He is a tremendous coach who is capable of winning a championship in this league if put in the right position. Unfortunately, the Knicks set him up to fail from the very beginning.