As you may or may not know, the Knicks held their introductory press conference for Tom Thibodeau today, after making his hire official earlier in the day (more on that later).
But smack-dab in the middle of that media availability came a Shams-Wow:
Former Knicks coach Mike Woodson is expected to join the Knicks organization in a capacity, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record in 2012-13, which marks their most recent playoff appearance and highest win total since 1996-97.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2020
Woody is back!
You might remember Mike Woodson as the last coach to guide the Knicks to a winning record (54 wins), a playoff berth and a playoff series victory in the 2012-13 season.
While Shams didn’t note what “in a capacity” means, given that Woody just interviewed for the Knicks’ head coaching spot that has since been awarded to Tom Thibodeau, it feels safe to assume that his role will be something along the lines of “associate head coach,” with the Knicks maybe deciding on a final title before an official announcement.
Since being fired by the Knicks following the predictably disastrous 2013-14 campaign (also known as “The Bargnani Year,” where, it should be noted, the Knicks somehow almost made the playoffs anyway after a strong push late in the season), Woodson spent four years serving under Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018, resigning after the 2018 season. The Clippers made the playoffs three of the four years, and finished second, fifth, fourth, and 17th, respectively, in net rating during Woodson’s four years as Rivers’ lead assistant (with the final 2017-18 season, of course, being the year of Chris Paul’s departure for Houston and the Clippers’ abrupt trade of Blake Griffin to the Pistons).
Now, Woodson returns to the site of his greatest coaching achievement, presumably as Thibs’ top assistant. Thibodeau, for all of his praise as a defensive guru, has drawn criticism from some that his schemes won’t be as effective now as they were in his heyday with the Chicago Bulls. Woodson has had demonstrable success as a lead assistant and de facto “defensive coordinator” for a playoff team recently, so that’s a definite plus for the Knicks.
Let’s just hope that the MSG camera crew also has the sense to keep the camera on Woody as much as possible, because there’s never been a more memeable coach than Mike Woodson.