The New York Knicks have had an up and down season thus far. The emergence of Jeremy Lin and Linsanity was a major high. The losing and subsequence departure of Mike D'Antoni as head coach was a low. A low that was clearly caused by Carmelo Anthony not being happy under D'Antoni's leadership. The rebirth of the Knicks since Mike Woodson was promoted has been the biggest high of the season. Clearly, Woodson's future with the Knicks is directly connected to Carmelo and keeping him happy.
Mike Woodson is an accomplished coach. He has NBA experience, playing from 1980 till 1990. He's been an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers (2001-2003) as well as an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons (2003-2004). He was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2004-2010). He became as assistant coach for the Knicks this season and was named the interim head coach after Mike D'Antoni quit.
For the record, he did a wonderful coaching job in Atlanta. He took over a team in 2004 that was only able to muster 13 wins and improved his team every season winning 26 games in the 2005-2006 season, 30 wins in the 2006-2007 season, 37 wins in the 2007-2008 season, 47 wins in the 2008-2009 season and 53 wins in the 2009-2010 season. There is no reason why the Woodson didn't receive another contract when his had expired. Atlanta's loss became New York's gain.
Woodson has done a wonderful job of inspiring the roster to rebound and play defense since taking over as head coach. He's kept the ball moving on offense but allowed his stars to play to their strengths. J.R. Smith has found himself with the ball in his hands. Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have been allowed to use isolation plays to abuse defenses. Steve Novak has been allowed to live behind the arc.
Everyone's happy. That's exactly what Woodson has to make sure continues. Mike D'Antoni quit but there was little doubt he would have been fired had he not walked away. Carmelo didn't want to play for D'Antoni anymore. Clearly he wasn't the only one because the entire team has given much more effort on both ends of the court since D'Antoni's departure but Carmelo is the ring leader.
The key to Woodson keeping the head coaching position in New York past this season is not rocking the boat with ownership and keeping Carmelo happy. It sounds ridiculous that the head coach needs to bow down to the stars of the roster instead of the other way around but in todays day and age that's how it is. Ask Mike D'Antoni.
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