5 Reasons Why New York Knicks Should Not Fire Mike Woodson
It's Not All His Fault
There are few occupations more stressful and heart-wrenching than the head coaching positions of New York City’s major league teams. Being the top media-market in the United States and maybe even the world, the spotlight shines heavy on all players and coaches that dare play in such a high-stakes environment.
So, it should come as no surprise that New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has been on the hot seat since November. Really, whether the team plays well or not, the coach’s job is always on the line. Consider the rich history that surrounds the Big Apple and the sports franchises that accompany it. That usually means that it is championship or bust. Unless you are Rex Ryan -- then you could post losing records season after season, prompt scandal after scandal and your job will remain safe.
Enough of the New York Jets, just the thought makes me want to puke. As for Woodson and the Knicks, it is understandable why many want to give the coach a boot. With a record of 20-32, New York currently resides two-and-a-half games behind the eighth and final playoff spot. In New York, those numbers are a recipe for extermination, especially when the overall salary of the team is close to $90 million and there is a player named Carmelo Anthony on the roster
But believe it or not, I don’t blame Woodson for the current state of the Knicks and you shouldn’t either. The truth is, Woodson is a quality head coach, who helped turn around the Atlanta Hawks. He inherited a circus of a team from former coach Mike D’Antoni and has tried hard to make it work.
Instead, I will turn the blame to general managers and team presidents, past and present. Oh, I also think the players deserve some of the blame too; after all they have acted rather childish this season. Now that I have dispersed the blame elsewhere, it is time to defend Woodson. Here are five reasons why the head coach should not be fired.
5. From Sixth Man to Leading Fool
Every coach has to deal with immaturity, egos and idiots, but few coaches ever have to deal with someone as ignorant and dumb as J.R. Smith. Well J.R., you have done a heck of a job making yourself, your coach and more importantly, your team look like a group of babbling morons.
It seems more fitting that Smith be dismissed from the team instead of Woodson, because Woodson has kept his professionalism and maturity throughout this rough season. Smith has gone on twitter tirades, public pouting sessions and even has tried to untie opponents’ shoes. Who really deserves to lose their job? You make the call.
4. The Uselessness of Tyson Chandler
If a player is being paid over $14 million a year to play basketball, wouldn’t you expect him to make a big difference for the team? Well, that is what the Knicks thought they were getting when they gave Tyson Chandler a fat contract, but instead he has been as useful as a used band-aid. At this point, Chandler has become nothing more than a bad investment. He has already missed nearly half the season with injuries and even when he does play, he doesn’t do much for the team.
Wasteful contracts and useless players seem to have become the motto of New York. Poor Woodson has been buried under overpaid players like Chandler. Truthfully, how far can you get with overpaid players? I guess not too far.
3. Carmelo's Free Agency Debacle
Ever since this season began, a dark storm cloud has remained overhead of the Knicks. That storm cloud was brought on by no one other than Carmelo Anthony. Instead of taking the LeBron James route and refuse to talk about free agency until the summer, Anthony came right out before the regular season and said he wants to “test the waters.”
Isn’t that a great way to start your season? Basically the gist of what Anthony said was he was not committed to the team past this season. That will take the focus right off of the season and tank it before it begins. Woodson has had to deal with the repercussions of Anthony’s preseason comments. Those repercussions have been a team that doesn’t exactly look like a team. Between Smith’s stupidity and Anthony’s selfishness, Woodson has had plenty on his plate.
2. A Financial Disaster Isiah Would Be Proud Of
I just discussed the financial headache of Chandler, but the Knicks have plenty more of overpaid players on their roster. Heck, if you didn’t check what year it was, you might think that Isiah Thomas was still running the show. We all know about the nightmare that Thomas dragged the Knicks into, but the franchise has done little better since then.
Sure, there is a big name like Anthony on the team, but look at the deadweight they have picked up. New York is paying Amare Stoudemire over $21 million this season and over $23 million next year. For what reason? So he can afford the expensive suits he wears while he sits the bench?
Between Chandler and Stoudemire alone, the Knicks will shell out close to $70 million over this season and next. Really, it is $70 million so these two players can be a waste of space on the roster and be a huge financial burden. Then of course there is Andrea Bargnani, who will make around $23 million over these two seasons.
I do know this: Woodson is not responsible for any of these signings or bonehead contracts. It is at the fault of the GM and team president. If the team fires Woodson, then they might as well clean house because he isn’t the problem. It is the front office.
1. The Dreaded Injury Bug
Finally, there is one thing that no coach, player, GM or owner can control and that is the dreaded injury bug. The injury bug has been rather active this season across the Association. It has claimed big names like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant. But the Knicks may be one team that has been hit the hardest.
Chandler and Stoudemire have racked up enough injuries to fill the wing of a hospital, but the team has also seen point guard Raymond Felton out for extended periods. Then there are also the injuries to Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin. Basically, the entire roster has been decimated by injuries at one point or another. What if the Knicks had a healthy roster all season? Would they be challenging the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers? What if only half of the injuries occurred, would people still be calling for Woodson’s head?
Everyone is quick to point the finger at the head coach because he is the commanding officer and general, but he only has so much control. In the case of Woodson, he is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. New York would be stupid to fire him, especially when there aren’t many better options. Give the guy one more chance because this has been the season from hell and everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown at him. The good news, there really is nowhere to go, but up.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.