NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Head coach Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks looks on against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Well, it finally happened. Howard Beck:
"Multi" probably equals three, based on what we've heard before, but I guess we'll know more later.
- I have
qualxs qualms because the Knicks looked genuinely ill-prepared for long stretches of their playoff series against the Heat. I temper my qualms by reminding myself of the people (and the condition of the people) who did and did not play for the Knicks during that series. It's not so much that they lost the series, though, as it is HOW they lost the series-- getting absolutely bulldozed without rallying a single counterpunch. Woodson's dauntless affinity for J.R. Smith got weird, too, but there really were times when J.R. drop-kicking twenty-footers was New York's best chance of generating offense.
- New York's regular season performance under Woodson-- never losing consecutive games despite several major injuries-- isn't lost on me, either. The Knicks really shouldn't have made the playoffs. (And the fact that Woodson relied heavily on Carmelo Anthony to get them there almost explains his willingness to let Melo attempt to take over in the Heat series with a similarly depleted roster, but now I'm rambling.)
- If this truly is a case of the despicable owner in cahoots with the despicable mega-agency forcing a move to appease the despicable superstar at the behest of his despicable friend/ex-head coach/puppeteer, well...at least everyone's on the same page! Honestly, though, I've long since gotten over the fact that the Knicks are a creepy, sordid organization, starting at the very top. It doesn't bother me anymore. And hey, maybe we can go a full year without a major organizational rift!
- Folks are going to be upset that the Knicks didn't interview Phil Jackson for the job. It sounds like they didn't even call him on his phone or send him an email or a Facebook poke or anything. If they did contact Jackson, it was through "back channels". I have no idea what "back channels" are, but I picture Jackson serenely tending to his pigeon loft, only to be jarred from his meditative bird-stroking by, like, Frank Hamblen, who's all like "Yo, D'Antoni's out and the Garden people want a parley". Whatever the case, Jackson and the Knicks didn't happen. I'm pretty happy about that, but that's at least partly because of petty aversions to the guy's typical demeanor, way of dealing with the media, and bloated reputation and following. Part of it, though, is that hiring a guy like Jackson would seem to me like yet another iteration of the Knicks' tendency to solve problems by just reeling in some huge name without respect to fit or continuity. When the counter-argument to "I'm not sure this guy makes sense in context" is "Yeah, but he's [Name of GREAT person]", that makes me wary. But yeah, maybe Jackson and his ninety championships would have guided the Knicks to great things. Maybe he never wanted the job.
- Woodson is expected to keep last year's coaching staff together, which is okay. Jim Todd and Darrell Walker are Woodson's guys and I'm not sure exactly what they offer, but Todd has a funny accent and Walker looks very stately in his spectacles, so they're good to have around. Kenny Atkinson was Jeremy Lin's mentor throughout the season, which was probably why he didn't get fired with the rest of D'Antoni's crew and also seems like a good reason to keep him on staff. Herb Williams is still there, too, and at this point I think we're all just too scared to see what would happen if he left. That, or he's been cursing the team this whole time. Oh, and no Isiah Thomas, since you were definitely worried about that.
So, I recognize and share everybody's concerns with both the motivation behind this extension and whether Woodson is really the man for the job. On the other hand, I'm really into the idea of keeping things as is, sticking with people through their struggles and mistakes, and allowing the time and stability necessary for discrete parts to coalesce. If the team sputters, you wait. If it continues to lag, you tinker. If it fails altogether, you allow it to expire and start over instead of buying shiny toys to patch the holes on the fly. I look around the league and see very few elite teams that coasted right from conception to contention. Maybe this isn't the right group of guys and maybe Woodson isn't the right coach to lead them, but we won't know unless they let the thing run its course.