Posted February 06, 2014

Mike Woodson concedes Knicks’ season has been “kind of a disaster”

Mike Woodson, New York Knicks, Rob Mahoney
Mike Woodson has done questionable work at the helm of the 19-30 Knicks.(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mike Woodson has done questionable work at the helm of the 19-30 Knicks.(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mike Woodson’s regular appearance on ESPN Radio turned a bit confessional this week, as the Knicks head coach discussed the challenges of leading a team that has so thoroughly underperformed expectations.

“This year has been, for me, it’s been kind of a disaster from a coaching standpoint in trying to get players to compete and play at a high level. That’s the frustrating part about it, because I know we’re better than what we’ve shown and we’ve still got a chance. That’s how I look at it. We’re two and a half games out of the eighth spot and I’ve been in this situation before in Atlanta where I had to push a team to get that eighth spot. Once you get in [the playoffs], anything is possible. We’ve gotta get there.”

You can listen to Woodson’s full 20-minute interview with hosts Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco at ESPN New York.

We’ll leave the Cinderella setup be, as its Woodson’s job to believe he can get the most out of this team. Even still, this was an oddly accurate bit of self-assessment for a coach who has been so stubborn throughout the season. This is a coach who actively went away from his team’s most effective lineups to serve his personal strategic preferences (or organizational directives — who can really say?); who continues to employ a defensive system that makes it easy for players to skirt by without accountability; and who gave J.R. Smith so much leeway only to bristle when the shooting guard misbehaved in characteristic fashion. The fault for New York’s 19-30 record shouldn’t be placed in Woodson’s lap, but most of his faulty moves this season have been rather predictable in their failure.

Part and parcel with that is what Woodson addresses more specifically: “get[ting] players to compete and play at a high level.” In the past this was Woodson’s forte; he was praised as a defensive coach who established productive working relationships with his players, from which came the fruit of their effort and commitment. At some point this season that bond seems to have rotted — if not to its core, than certainly to whatever degree results in such consistently foul basketball. Whenever the Knicks seem as though they might be turning a corner, they roll out a horrific and lazy defensive showing. Whenever it seems as though they might finally be trusting in the tenets that defined New York basketball as recently as last season, they waffle into alternating stretches of forced offense and creative paralysis. This is a team that either doesn’t know what Woodson wants or can’t find reason to care for his wants on a consistent basis. Given that so many of the Knicks’ rotation players are holdovers from last season, the latter seems more likely.

That, more than anything else, might be the biggest shortcoming in Woodson’s coaching work this season. One can get away with strategic missteps and rotational gaffes when the team in question is playing hard, particularly in an Eastern Conference this soft at its center. The Knicks’ brand of basketball, though, has been neither smart nor committed — a rather clear indictment of the man hired to instruct and motivate them.

15 comments
cmoss50202@aol.com
cmoss50202@aol.com

At this point in the NBA, ANY team with Melo on it don't stand a chance. Blah, Blah, about Denver, but look at the overall record then and now. This generation of players are in the game for the money and nothing else matters, no teamwork, no loyalty, no sacrifice. There is only a handfull of players in the NBA right now who will get the respect and positive comments because of the body of work they have put in.

GTT
GTT

He was a horrible coach in Atlanta and is now. He was a terrible hire by a terrible GM named Billy Knight. Thankfully both are long gone from the ATL, their stench is finally leaving the building.

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

When was the last time the Knicks had a season that wasn't a total disaster? The Knicks are a DISASTER and it continues to get worse. 

Listening
Listening

I just like seeing Spike Lee in the front row looking broken..........

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

I knew there was a reason he made the big bucks

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Woodson may not be a good coach, but it isn't his doing that he is stuck with a pack of garbage players and one "star" who is a selfish ballhog. There is one man who is responsible for the mess the Knicks are...and will be as long as he is in charge - James Dolan.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

All Knicks seasons are disasters. Every year the media touts them as contenders. Every year they disappoint. They've been irrelevant since the 70's. 

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

The players dont listen to Woodson, They dont play team ball its just 5 guys running up and down the court and whoever has the ball last shoots...........

Delusional
Delusional

"Kinda" Knicks are the second worst team in the game, second only to the cavs

Joe R2
Joe R2

Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!  Knicks are garbage.... Have been since the 70's!

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

@RobertJacke  yeap. and Chandler addressed that last season. Knicks just following their franchise players lead. As long as get's his his 40pts it all good in world according to Melo

kj4027
kj4027

@Joe R2  Really? So they sucked all through the Ewing years as well?