The New York Knicks will enter Friday’s game at the Orlando Magic with a 21-33 record. They’re 1-1 since the All-Star Break and hanging on by a thread in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The same problems continue to repeat over and over for the Knicks. They can’t keep a lead, they can’t defend and they miss crucial shots when the game matters most. It can be argued that the Knicks just aren’t a good team with their present roster, but even with that they are more talented than their record says.
Rumors of coach Mike Woodson‘s firing continue to grow by the day and those rumors are certainly warranted. Woodson can’t seem to plug in the right combination of players at the right times. His pacing has been poor, and at times it seems that he forgets how long he’s left Jeremy Tyler or J.R. Smith in the game. Woodson doesn’t seem to be confident in his own substitution moves at the moment.
There are several things Woodson can do to show he is still capable of coaching this Knicks team. When a team is playing badly, it’s the coach’s job to step in and make moves. Even if this Knicks team doesn’t make the playoffs, Woodson can still keep his job for next season. He can start by inserting Tim Hardaway Jr. into the starting lineup. Whether he starts Raymond Felton or Pablo Prigioni, Hardaway needs to be the other starting guard. There’s no limit to how good Hardaway can be, and he’s finally shown how good he is so get him in there while he’s hot and keep his confidence up.
Another player who needs more minutes is Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire has looked as good as he has all season in the last few games ,but Woodson hasn’t increased his role. During the month of February, Stoudemire has averaged 12.7 PPG and shot a respectable 53.7 percent from the field. He missed last game with a sore knee but should be good to go against Orlando. Also, why not plug in Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih every now and then? If something isn’t working, you need to explore other options.
Coach Woodson has looked reluctant to switch up the lineup, but with Iman Shumpert out for at least two weeks, he now has no choice but to give other bench players more playing time. Carmelo Anthony can’t continue to play at a high-level when he’s playing almost 40 minutes per game. The Knicks aren’t a good team at this point by any stretch of the imagination, but when things aren’t working, Woodson needs to get creative and make changes. If he shows the ability to adapt to change and work with what he has, Knicks management will give him another chance. But if Woodson continues to do the same things and lose the same ways, his time in New York will come to an end at the completion of this season.