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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Should the Knicks Bring Back Woody?

Despite denials, Phase I of NY’s off-season appears to be underway. Rumors abound that Mike Woodson is the favorite to coach the Knicks next season. Reportedly at James Dolan’s request, Woodson replaced his agent, who also represents former Knicks, Pistons, Sixers, Pacers, et al. coach, Larry Brown, with an eye toward getting an extension done.

Bringing Woody back seems like the logical, let’s-not-overthink-it play. For all the justifiable hand-wringing and kvetching about the savage playoff beatdown, the Knicks improved significantly this season. The 2011-12 Knicks improved their win percentage over 2010-11 (55%, up from 51%), against a tougher schedule (11th in SRS, up from 15th). NY’s 41 expected wins were 8th best in the league, up from 15th. In truth, NY was a bit unlucky to end a game behind Orlando for the 6th seed. A late season blowout-lead-turned-loss to Indiana and head-scratching losses to Cleveland sure do stick in my craw, considering that we match up with Indiana about as well as we don’t with Miami.

Sure, take the standard “grain of salt” with NY’s expected wins in this weirdo season, but 66 games is enough to make some meaningful inferences. And in this case, the Pythagorean record squares fairly well with the hairy eyeball. The Knicks were by any measure a pretty fine defensive team, over-switching all. Among Eastern Conference playoff teams, only Miami and Chicago won their season series. NY finished the season rated fifth overall in defensive efficiency. Defensive improvement (it should be noted) was evident under D’Antoni but it jumped under Woodson, even as the schedule got tougher. The improvements appear sustainable. Chandler had his standard season, which may not win defensive POY without the media narrative about his locker room presence, yadda, yadda. But more importantly, this kind of season seems–knock wood–repeatable. Carmelo, for all the righteous grief he’s taken, evolved from a turnstile into a reasonable defender. What used to be Marbury-like indifference is now mostly occasional ball-watching. We’ll have to see if he can build on those improvements.

HOW-EVAH! If I may get my Stephen A. on for a sec, the Knicks were just a mess offensively. Not even a hot mess, as they rated 17th in offensive efficiency. Obviously the injuries and transitions were a major culprit, but, as the old saying goes, “Excuses are tools that build bridges to nowhere and monuments to nothingness.” Injuries wrecked continuity for sure, yet we saw a sound scheme on defense that didn’t fall apart without Chandler unless Jeffries was also missing. We didn’t get the same soundness of scheme on offense, which far too often seemed aimless. Melo may exemplify this flaw, and his shortcomings are well-documented, bordering on legend, but it was a structural flaw. It wasn’t just about Melo. Flaws were also evident under D’Antoni. I might note a personal a pet peeve. The aptly named “pick-and-roll,” a staple of the fabled D’Antoni offense, has both “pick” and “roll” components. A “V-cut,” Amare, is NOT a pick. A “pick” requires the “pick-setter” to actually impede an oncoming defender’s movement while remaining stationary. Now I’m not one to gossip, but the touches STAT so desperately craves would be far more plentiful if he set actual picks on the pick-and-roll.

If Woodson can claim credit for the #5 defensive rating–and he can–then he must also own the dreadful offense. His inability to get Novak double-digit shots over five games is pretty troubling. It goes to concerns about whether this is destined to be Atlanta redux; a 50-55 win squad that can’t get a top three seed.

So, what say you Knickerbloggeristas? To Wood, or not to Wood? That is the question. If no, what’s your plan? Not really interested in any Phil Jackson tripe. Let’s keep it to the question of the coach. I’m sure the other guys will get to the roster in the coming days.

72 comments on “Should the Knicks Bring Back Woody?

  1. TelegraphedPass

    I like Woodson for the continuity. He’s probably not the best option out there in certain ways, but the players like him and support him. That’s important. As long as the players are comfortable then I like Woody sticking around.

  2. Frank

    TelegraphedPass:
    I like Woodson for the continuity. He’s probably not the best option out there in certain ways, but the players like him and support him. That’s important. As long as the players are comfortable then I like Woody sticking around.

    Co-sign on this. What this team needs more than anything else is for things to calm down a little and to develop some familiarity with each other. I know posters like bobneptune don’t think there is anything to look forward to, but I’ll look at the glass half-full. We had an 18-6 record over the last 1/3+ of this season, playing without our starting PG, without our PF for much of that, with a new coach, and an offensive system in transition. Yes, we lost to Miami in 5 games, but I’ll continue to believe that with a healthy Shump and Baron we would have pushed it to 6 or even 7 games.

    To think that we were going to seriously challenge Miami this year was just unrealistic. They have a huge amount of talent, and also have been an essentially unchanged team for 2 years. We haven’t had the same team together for more than 2 months at a time, for no more than 2 practices at a time. If I remember correctly, Woody wanted to install a zone defense to use against Miami but it was so rushed and haphazard that they scrapped it. These are things that a team with continuity can do – they can polish their go-to sets/schemes, and continually add new wrinkles. We weren’t even together long enough to actually have the 1st part.

    It’s no surprise that every team that has advanced to the 2nd round has basically had the same core together for 2+ years – PHI, Indy, Miami, Boston, SA, and OKC. Will be interesting to see whether Denver and the Clips can overcome that lack of continuity.

  3. Garson

    Good Topic , but i think we would have to weigh Woodsan Vs other Options.

    Aside from the Van Gundys, and Phil Jackson and possibly Rivers , all whom i would replace him with , who else can we go with??

  4. TelegraphedPass

    Garson: Good Topic , but i think we would have to weigh Woodsan Vs other Options.Aside from the Van Gundys, and Phil Jackson and possibly Rivers , all whom i would replace him with , who else can we go with??

    Other possibilities include Sloan, Carlisle, Rambis, Ewing. Though I don’t consider Rivers or Carlisle really true options at all.

  5. Frank

    I think unless Phil Jackson wants this job, it’s Woody’s to take. I personally would probably prefer SVG or JVG but Woody has already been here and done well, and has the backing of the players, so he’d probably be the better choice in my mind.

  6. Nick C.

    I like the continuity as well. It is one thing this team has not had for what seems like a decade, between the roster turnover every half season to the myriad coaches. The agent firing, if true, is very creepy, but the team performed well for him so I’ll let it pass.

  7. ephus

    Woodson v. Jackson — I take Jackson, because I think he would actually have the ability to get the team to execute his scheme. I am not sure how good a fit the Triple Post (aka Triangle) is for Lin, but Melo and Chandler actually fit well. A Jackson team would have more passing and less dribbling. I have been hoping for the return of Jackson since he was coaching the Albany Patroons.

    Outside of that, there is no one that I desperately want to see replace Woodson. I am sure that JVG or SVG would be strong defensive coaches, but I am not certain either would be markedly different than Woodson.

    The one guy I do not want to see is Calipari. 1) His tenure with the Nets was a disaster; 2) too much CAA/Worldwide Wes; 3) too close to Isiah Thomas.

  8. 2FOR18

    Unless Phil Jax wants the job, we should keep Woodson not only for the continuity, but because melo seems to like him. melo has to be happy for this team to have any chance.

  9. Doug

    I might note a personal a pet peeve. The aptly named “pick-and-roll,” a staple of the fabled D’Antoni offense, has both “pick” and “roll” components. A “V-cut,” Amare, is NOT a pick. A “pick” requires the “pick-setter” to actually impede an oncoming defender’s movement while remaining stationary. Now I’m not one to gossip, but the touches STAT so desperately craves would be far more plentiful if he set actual picks on the pick-and-roll.

    You should be addressing this to D’Antoni, not Amare. D’Antoni’s the one that encourages slipping the screen. Did you forget that David Lee was doing the same thing all the time in D’Antoni’s first year.

  10. TelegraphedPass

    ephus: Woodson v. Jackson — I take Jackson, because I think he would actually have the ability to get the team to execute his scheme. I am not sure how good a fit the Triple Post (aka Triangle) is for Lin, but Melo and Chandler actually fit well. A Jackson team would have more passing and less dribbling. I have been hoping for the return of Jackson since he was coaching the Albany Patroons.Outside of that, there is no one that I desperately want to see replace Woodson. I am sure that JVG or SVG would be strong defensive coaches, but I am not certain either would be markedly different than Woodson.The one guy I do not want to see is Calipari. 1) His tenure with the Nets was a disaster; 2) too much CAA/Worldwide Wes; 3) too close to Isiah Thomas.

    Melo is the only player who seems a good fit for the triangle. He’s a domininant one on one scorer, he’s a great (if not always willing) passer, and he demands defensive attention to get the defense moving.

    Chandler and STAT both lack the kind of post game to make them great options for the triangle in many sets.

    Lin isn’t quite the 3 point threat to capitalize on the many looks he should get in the corner while running the triangle either.

  11. Frank

    How much do you guys think Dragic will get? Because his year and Lin’s year are scarily similar, just with peaks at different times of the year. They’re basically the same size (6’3″ 200 for Lin vs. 6’3″ 190 for Dragic). And Dragic is 25 while Lin is 23.
    http://bkref.com/tiny/2PFJU

    My guess is that Dragic gets well more than the MLE (and he’ll deserve it). I don’t think there is any way the Knicks can let Lin go regardless of the Nash situation and the international stardom thing.

  12. JC Knickfan

    I like to have JVG and SVG combo. I guess younger one Jeff would be assistant. but give them the same salary.

  13. Z

    DC– not sure how you can have a conversation like this without any Phil Jackson “tripe”. Jackson is, presumably, the Knicks FO’s #1 choice for the job. Hard to say the Knicks should retain Woodson based on his performance alone, when his performance doesn’t mean squat if Phil Jackson says he wants the job.

    I don’t think there is much use hurrying to sign Woodson, without letting the landscape come into view. Of the possible names, my own list would probably be:

    1) Carlisle
    2) EVG (either Van Gundy)
    4) Woodson
    5) the corpse of Phil Jackson
    6) D’Antoni
    7) Herb Williams

    And, as an aside, why des Ewing want to coach so badly? He was never very good with the media, and the wasn’t really a vocal leader as a player. Bird I get. Magic I get. Isiah I get. But Ewing? I’m surprised he has the ambition.

  14. ephus

    Z: And, as an aside, why des Ewing want to coach so badly? He was never very good with the media, and the wasn’t really a vocal leader as a player. Bird I get. Magic I get. Isiah I get. But Ewing?

    1. Simplest answer. Ewing loves basketball, but does not love talking basketball to the lowest common denominator. He loves the strategy and the competition. Coaching satisfies these desires, but being a color commentator would not.

    2. Slightly couch answer: Ewing loves basketball and also wants to prove his basketball IQ. I have to imagine that the “Patrick Ewing Can’t Read This” abuse that he took at Georgetown and during his early years as a Knick left some scars. Returning as a successful head coach would demonstrate Ewing’s high basketball IQ to the world.

    3. Totally couch answer: Ewing never won an NBA championship, and he is driven to climb that mountain.

    My guess is that it is mostly #1, with small pieces of both #2 and #3.

  15. cgreene

    Also on the Ewing thing, I think that the tactics of the game can certainly be learned and he had some good mentors from Thompson to Hubie to Pitino to Pat the rat to JVG to SVG. But he was never lauded for his high bball IQ. He was not a good passer which tends to be a high bball IQ trait and wasn’t a good tactician on the court. Like we say coaching has a minimal impact minus the greats like Phil, Pop, Riles but it’s the subtle, tactical, moves within a game where coaches make a difference. That and effort and like was said above Ewing is not vocal. I love the guy and all he did for the Knicks but I don’t see him as good head coaching material.

  16. Thomas B.

    Nice work David. Totally agree on the Amare picks. I’ve complained about that for the last two years. I call it the “slip and roll.”

    Back the truck up to Phil Jackson’s front door. Show him 50 million for 4 years and then hope that Amare can develop a solid enough 18 foot jumper to play the triangle (which he really should be able to do).

    Look I like Woodson. I LIKE him. But his tenure in ATL shows that he is not a creative offensive mind. Those teams rode Joe Jackson for all they could get from him (and that didn’t get them very far). Why waste Melo’s prime doing the same thing?

    The team has three talented offensive players in the starting line-up in Melo, Stat, and Lin. Two years from now a healthy and more developed Shumpert along with Chandler still in his prime gives you are pretty good balance of offense and defense. You need a coach who will make the most of the offense. That guy is Jackson or maybe Rick Carlisle if you want to spend 30 million dollars less.

  17. ephus

    cgreene: . But he was never lauded for his high bball IQ. He was not a good passer which tends to be a high bball IQ trait and wasn’t a good tactician on the court. Like we say coaching has a minimal impact minus the greats like Phil, Pop, Riles but it’s the subtle, tactical, moves within a game where coaches make a difference. That and effort and like was said above Ewing is not vocal. I love the guy and all he did for the Knicks but I don’t see him as good head coaching material.

    Disproving this could be a big part of Ewing’s motivation to coach.

  18. Thomas B.

    Doug:
    I might note a personal a pet peeve. The aptly named “pick-and-roll,” a staple of the fabled D’Antoni offense, has both “pick” and “roll” components. A “V-cut,” Amare, is NOT a pick. A “pick” requires the “pick-setter” to actually impede an oncoming defender’s movement while remaining stationary. Now I’m not one to gossip, but the touches STAT so desperately craves would be far more plentiful if he set actual picks on the pick-and-roll.

    You should be addressing this to D’Antoni, not Amare. D’Antoni’s the one that encourages slipping the screen. Did you forget that David Lee was doing the same thing all the time in D’Antoni’s first year.

    But Amare was still doing the slip and roll after Coach Pringles left. Granted they only ran the play twice after MDA left, but still.

  19. Jafa

    So the question was “to Wood or not to Wood”? I say no, even though I think we are stuck with Woodson.

    I think we can do better than Woodson. Did he improve us offensively? Yes, but by marginalizing one of our high prices “stars” (for the record D’Antoni did the same thing) and one of our up and coming stars (Lin). And yes he did improve us defensively, but we knew that was his strong suit coming in .

    And it puzzles me how we were so hot to end the season and then went cold in the playoffs. He did not seem to make adjustments as well. What creative thing did he do to get Amare more shots? What did he do about getting Novak more open looks? Or teaching JR to select his shots better?

    I know we had a lot of injuries and the series went the way I expected (a 4-1 loss), but only one of those games was competitive. He completely got out coached by a guy that isn’t really a good coach. Last year, we railed on D’Antoni for getting out coached by Doc Rivers, who is a top 5 coach in the league, in the playoffs. Can anybody really say that about Miami’s coach?

    So no, I’m not interested in an “OK” coach when there are better ones out there. Who you say? Well several have already been mentioned including:

    Phil “Triangle” Jackson
    Jerry “fundamental” Sloan
    Rick “Ball Movement” Carlisle
    Stan Van “I’m the new Charles Barkley of the NBA” Gundy
    Nate “I can do more with less” McMillan

    If we cant get any of these guys, then hire Woodson.

  20. Jafa

    “Look I like Woodson. I LIKE him. But his tenure in ATL shows that he is not a creative offensive mind. Those teams rode Joe Jackson for all they could get from him (and that didn’t get them very far). Why waste Melo’s prime doing the same thing?” – Thomas B.

    My sentiments exactly. Lets get someone who can maximize all of our assets, not just one of them.

  21. TelegraphedPass

    Jafa: Who you say? Well several have already been mentioned including:Phil “Triangle” JacksonJerry “fundamental” SloanRick “Ball Movement” CarlisleStan Van “I’m the new Charles Barkley of the NBA” GundyNate “I can do more with less” McMillanIf we cant get any of these guys, then hire Woodson.

    Are those really the best descriptions you’ve got of these guys’ coaching styles?

    You aren’t going to mention the flex offense Sloan ran for his career?

    What does “The new Charles Barkley of the NBA” mean?

    Sounds like you’re just pushing storylines. Which is the exact wrong way to decide the next head coach for this team.

  22. JC Knickfan

    Doug:
    I might note a personal a pet peeve. The aptly named “pick-and-roll,” a staple of the fabled D’Antoni offense, has both “pick” and “roll” components. A “V-cut,” Amare, is NOT a pick. A “pick” requires the “pick-setter” to actually impede an oncoming defender’s movement while remaining stationary. Now I’m not one to gossip, but the touches STAT so desperately craves would be far more plentiful if he set actual picks on the pick-and-roll.

    You should be addressing this to D’Antoni, not Amare. D’Antoni’s the one that encourages slipping the screen. Did you forget that David Lee was doing the same thing all the time in D’Antoni’s first year.

    Do remember when Lin waive off Amare then motion for TC to set pick – I think it was during one of Linsanity games. I was like O’ snap you just didn’t do that.

    V-cut can be good if you mix it in with hard stationary screens, keep defense guessing. But I think we all know Amare is just saying give me damn so I can go into Beast mode.

  23. Jafa

    TelegraphedPass: Are those really the best descriptions you’ve got of these guys’ coaching styles?

    You aren’t going to mention the flex offense Sloan ran for his career?

    What does “The new Charles Barkley of the NBA” mean?

    Sounds like you’re just pushing storylines. Which is the exact wrong way to decide the next head coach for this team.

    Sorry my humor was lost on you. Of course each bring more than the one-liner I used. I think Sloan’s offense is genius, especially when he consistently kept getting to the 2nd round of the playoffs after his hall of fame players retired and/or left.

    For SVG, like Barkley he speak his mind and doesn’t care what people think about him. That was the connection. Ofcourse I didn’t mention how good an Xs and Os guy he is and his stellar coaching record sans dealing with D12.

    If you want statistical comparisons, I’ll get you that on my next post.

  24. RastaPappa

    Bring Doc and Patrick. That’s what we need. Doc is da man. He can handle our stars. He has done gr eat job in Boston and he can do the same in NY.

  25. bobneptune

    Garson:
    Good Topic , but i think we would have to weigh Woodsan Vs other Options.

    Aside from the Van Gundys, and Phil Jackson and possibly Rivers , all whom i would replace him with , who else can we go with??

    jerry sloan in a heartbeat. thibs if he becomes available. woodson is the if no one else is available choice.

  26. ephus

    I don’t think that Jerry Sloan would be a good match for the NYC media culture.

    If Rivers is going to leave Boston, I see him taking a year off rather than jumping into a new job.

    Shocked if Chicago and Dallas let Thibs and Carlisle go.

  27. DRed

    It looks like playing iso ball is the only way to get any effective use out of Carmelo, so short of scamming some sucker team into taking him we might as well stick with Woodson. We did play well down the stretch, and I don’t think Phil Jackson is dumb enough to coach this team.

  28. Z

    ephus: 1.Simplest answer.Ewing loves basketball, but does not love talking basketball to the lowest common denominator.He loves the strategy and the competition.Coaching satisfies these desires, but being a color commentator would not.

    2.Slightly couch answer:Ewing loves basketball and also wants to prove his basketball IQ.I have to imagine that the “Patrick Ewing Can’t Read This” abuse that he took at Georgetown and during his early years as a Knick left some scars.Returning as a successful head coach would demonstrate Ewing’s high basketball IQ to the world.

    3.Totally couch answer:Ewing never won an NBA championship, and he is driven to climb that mountain.

    My guess is that it is mostly #1, with small pieces of both #2 and #3.

    Yeah, I guess that’s probably it (as he clearly wants to be a head coach). But so much of being a head coaches handling the media, and Ewing in his playing career was, frankly, pretty dreadful at that.

    I could be forgetting somebody, but in the modern era has there been a superstar player that has become a good head coach? I think Bird was probably the best of the bunch, but he had Rick Carlisle and Dick Harter doing all the in game stuff. He was more of a sideline CEO, which, considering his legendary status in Indiana and his multiple rings, was enough to have an impact on the franchise.

    Ewing doesn’t have the prestige of Bird’s championships, or Bird’s panache with any local media, so I really can’t see him having much success as a head coach, especially considering how different the game is today thanit was when he was playing.

  29. Z

    Also, how the heck did Woodson even negotiate an assistant coach contract with Glass representing him? (did Donnie hire Woodson, before Dolan appointed himself interim president?)

  30. DRed

    Z:
    Also, how the heck did Woodson even negotiate an assistant coach contract with Glass representing him? (did Donnie hire Woodson, before Dolan appointed himself interim president?)

    He was negotiating with his college roommate.

  31. Jafa

    Ok, here you go Telegraph:

    I don’t think we need statistics to justify that Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan are better options that Woodson. Here’s some comparison for other options:

    Stan Van Gundy (if Orlando fires him)
    64.1% career regular season winning percentage (Woodson is 43.4%)
    55.2% career post season winning percentage (Woodson is (35.3%)
    For seasons where he coached the full slate of games
    Offensive Rating = 108.1 (Woodson is 106.4)
    Defensive Rating = 103.1 (Woodson is 109)

    Rick Carlisle (if Dallas lets him go)
    59.6% career regular season winning percentage (Woodson is 43.4%)
    51.5% career post season winning percentage (Woodson is (35.3%)
    For seasons where he coached the full slate of games
    Offensive Rating = 106.1 (Woodson is 106.4)
    Defensive Rating = 104.1 (Woodson is 109)

    Nate McMillan (available now)
    51.4% career regular season winning percentage (Woodson is 43.4%)
    41.2% career post season winning percentage (Woodson is (35.3%)
    For seasons where he coached the full slate of games
    Offensive Rating = 107.9 (Woodson is 106.4)
    Defensive Rating = 107.9 (Woodson is 109)

    As you can see, all better than Woodson. And I didn’t even talk about Thibbs, although it is highly unlikely he would become a FA.

  32. ephus

    Z: I could be forgetting somebody, but in the modern era has there been a superstar player that has become a good head coach?

    Obviously, Bill Russell was the greatest player-coach ever. As a pure coach, not a great record. Lenny Wilkens was a HOF player and a HOF coach, whose coaching career lasted into the 21st century. Billy Cunningham was also a great player and great coach.

    If by “modern era” you mean post-1980 players, then Larry Bird is definitely the standard bearer.

  33. TelegraphedPass

    @31

    Oh goodness, thanks for those numbers. I had no idea what these guys’ winning percentages were! I don’t have Google here or anything. I’m starting to run short on dripping sarcasm as well!

    I was previously unaware that winning percentage was directly related to coaching acumen. Weird that Doc Rivers struggled when he first began with the Celtics. Since he’s clearly a good coach and all.

    Here’s a thought: Instead of simply looking at wins vs losses, how about we examine their offensive and defensive systems and use that to determine who would fit best with our players?

  34. Jafa

    DRed:
    It looks like playing iso ball is the only way to get any effective use out of Carmelo, so short of scamming some sucker team into taking him we might as well stick with Woodson.We did play well down the stretch, and I don’t think Phil Jackson is dumb enough to coach this team.

    Dolan would probably block any attempts to trade Melo so were stuck with him. However, if he lets Grunwald hire a new coach, it could send a message to Melo that we are not going to give in to his every whim by keeping the coach whose system he loves to the detriment of our championship aspirations.

  35. Jafa

    @33,

    Let me help you process this. That was a simple quantitative analysis of the coaches (as in looking at data). The factors you want to examine, like their offensive and defensive systems, is qualitative analysis that can be quiet subjective. Lets see you take a stab at it.

    Oh, about Doc Rivers, people clearly thought he was good before he got to Boston, evidenced by his COY award in Orlando with almost no above average NBA player on the roster, and his ability to keep that team competitive and in the playoffs 3 out of 4 full years there with TMac as his only quality player.

  36. ruruland

    Anyone have any idea how 50-60% of Melo’s baskets were assisted the first 6 years of his career? All iso-ball, right?

    Was MDA fired or did he re-sign?

    Did Melo try to fit in as a role player alongside Lin, and did he start asking for the ball in the post when the team was losing, or did something else happen?

    Was MDA interested in balancing Melo post-ups with his system, or did he only allow Melo to play as a point forward and spread-the-floor shooter?

    Were their plays designed to take advantage of his abilities, or was Woodson trying to turn Melo into more of a role player in Lin’s offense?

  37. ruruland

    Jafa:
    @33,

    Let me help you process this.That was a simple quantitative analysis of the coaches (as in looking at data).The factors you want to examine, like their offensive and defensive systems, is qualitative analysis that can be quiet subjective.Lets see you take a stab at it.

    Oh, about Doc Rivers, people clearly thought he was good before he got to Boston, evidenced by his COY award in Orlando with almost no above average NBA player on the roster, and his ability to keep that team competitive and in the playoffs 3 out of 4 full years there with TMac as his only quality player.

    So, you’re one of the people who believes Woodson “teaches” isolation plays. What were the Knicks running when they had Lin? Isolation. What great Hawks point guard did Woodson keep down by running “isolation” plays?

  38. JC Knickfan

    ephus:
    I don’t think that Jerry Sloan would be a good match for the NYC media culture.

    If Rivers is going to leave Boston, I see him taking a year off rather than jumping into a new job.

    Shocked if Chicago and Dallas let Thibs and Carlisle go.

    Wasn’t Paul Pierce big iso ball player also? Didn’t Doc force Pierce change his game up after Boston sign their Big 3? I think Paul won ring 10th season which Melo going into 10 season also. Plus Doc would great be teacher for Lin. It’s very pretty good choices, but currently signed still.

    He would have resign and the sign with Knicks. Would Knicks have to provide compensation to Boston?

  39. Frank

    Jafa: Dolan would probably block any attempts to trade Melo so were stuck with him.However, if he lets Grunwald hire a new coach, it could send a message to Melo that we are not going to give in to his every whim by keeping the coach whose system he loves to the detriment of our championship aspirations.

    I really think that it is too early to jump ship on Melo, even though I’m not a huge fan of his overall game. yes, he’s had 2 first round exits in 2 playoff series here, but seriously – has one team ever had worse injuries in consecutive postseasons than us? Look at the starting lineups we threw out there against Boston and Miami:

    Vs. Boston
    PG: Toney Douglas
    SG: Landry Fields
    SF: Melo
    PF: Broken Amare
    C: Turiaf
    with Bill Walker, Jeffries, and Shawne Williams off the bench.

    Boston’s lineup? Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal.

    Vs. Miami:
    Bibby, Fields, Melo, Broken Amare, Flu-ridden Chandler with (Lin/Shump/Baron/Jeffries hurt) vs. Chalmers, Wade, Lebron, Bosh, and whoever.

    Say what you will about the trade that gutted our team, but remember that Melo didn’t make that trade. It’s not his fault. But he has been at a ridiculous talent deficit in both of the last two playoff series, mostly due to injuries, which are RANDOM occurrences (minus Amare’s stupid injury).

    If we think we can get a Deron Williams-like haul for trading Melo you obviously need to look at it. But I think it’s way too early to say that Melo can’t be part of a serious contender. In this past series, if Shump doesn’t get hurt, Chandler doesn’t get sick+useless in games 1 and 2, and if JR doesn’t shoot 4% from the field, then we might have had a very different outcome. Note: these are all factors that have little do with Melo directly.

  40. Jafa

    Ruruland,

    Please don’t make this about Melo. We are simply arguing over who the coach should be moving forward. Love it or hate it, Melo is here to stay. I have accepted that fact. Now I just want a coach who can maximize what Melo bring to the table while still maximizing our other major pieces (STAT, Tyson, Lin).

  41. ephus

    As we look back on the season, the Paul Pierce shot that sent the game in Boston to overtime was the begining of the end for MDA. If Pierce misses that shot, the Knicks win in regulation. If the Knicks win that game, Melo and Shumpert would have been regarded as the heros of that game, and there would not be any six game losing streak to exacerbate the tensions between ‘Melo and MDA. ‘Melo would not have brazenly broken the offense and MDA would not have demanded that Dolan trade ‘Melo.

    Now, given that the Knicks improved to 18-6 under Woodson after going 18-24 under MDA, you might see MDA’s firing as a benefit for the team.

  42. Jafa

    Frank,

    I’m fine with Melo. I am resigned to the fact that the pieces we have now are what we have for the next 3 years (when their contracts expire). Not blaming him. I was just pointing out to a poster that wanted Melo traded that it would not happen under Dolan’s watch.

    I’m not even interested in exploring trades because that requires finding a trade partner and shaping a deal. I just want a coach that gives us the best chance to win in these next 3 years. And if we don’t win one, then we can blow it up and start over again. I am simply not convinced that Woodson is that coach.

  43. ephus

    JC Knickfan: Wasn’t Paul Pierce big iso ball player also? Didn’t Doc force Pierce change his game up after Boston sign their Big 3? I think Paul won ring 10th season which Melo going into 10 season also.Plus Doc would great be teacher for Lin. It’s very pretty good choices, but currently signed still.

    He would have resign and the sign with Knicks.Would Knicks have to provide compensation to Boston?

    Rivers does not have a contract after this season, so if he elected to come to NY, Boston would not get any compensation.

    I think that it is more accurate to say that Pierce bought into the Big 3 concept based upon Garnett and Allen than to say that Doc Rivers “forced” Pierce to give up on iso-ball.

  44. Jafa

    Ephus,

    Now that I think back on it, I’m glad MDA isn’t here right now. He was able to maximize 2 of our 3 best assets and stumbled upon Lin. Woodson can only maximize 1 of our 4 best assets. How Doc Rivers got the most of of those 3 guys (now 4 with Rondo) is what I’m impressed by and looking for in our next coach.

  45. Frank

    Jafa:
    Ephus,

    Now that I think back on it, I’m glad MDA isn’t here right now.He was able to maximize 2 of our 3 best assets and stumbled upon Lin.Woodson can only maximize 1 of our 4 best assets.How Doc Rivers got the most of of those 3 guys (now 4 with Rondo) is what I’m impressed by and looking for in our next coach.

    You know that Woodson’s “iso-Joe” Hawks had the 2nd highest offensive efficiency in the league in 09-10 right? And that he (with Chandler/Shump) is widely acknowledged for the defensive turnaround of the Knicks (21st –>5th in defensive efficiency)?

    I’m not saying Woodson is necessarily the best choice. I think if Phil Jackson wants to come, I am begrudgingly willing to welcome him just because of his history. If Doc Rivers wants to leave Boston and come to NYC, then I think he’s a better choice too. But I’m not sure that either of the Van Gundy’s are better. So given Phil and Doc probably aren’t coming, and I’m not sure SVG/JVG are better, then sometimes you just have to be happy with what you have. ANd I think it is a gross oversimplification to say that Woodson can only get the best out of 1 of our 4 best assets. Chandler played quite well even while hurt, and Amare/Lin were hurt for much of his tenure also.

  46. Jafa

    Frank,

    Ask your self this question: Why did he run an offensive system that was nicknames “iso-Joe” when he had the likes of Josh Smith and Al Horford on his squad? Quite often we rave about Josh Smith on this site and dream of trading/signing him to the Knicks. We don’t do so because we think he is garbage do we? And besides D-12, Tyson and Noah, can you name another Eastern Conference center you would rather have in place of Horford?

    And SVG and Nate McMillan, among others, have not had the opportunity to coach our assets together either, so we can only go by their track record. And his track record says he will not maximize the talent we have.

  47. nicos

    Come on, Amar’e slipping the screen generated plenty of good shots with Raymond Felton as his point guard (let alone with Nash). D. Lee slipped every screen with Chris Duhon and it worked pretty well. Lin just needs to get used to it and it’ll be fine.

    As for Woodson, If we see the Woodson of the first few games where he kept a lot of D’A’s stuff and mixed it with more post-ups and a few iso’s for Melo, that’d be great. I think the problem was when Amar’e and Lin went out, he went back to more iso ball and either didn’t readjust when Amar’e came back or more likely, couldn’t readjust because of the point guard situation and Miami’s defense (though his failure to make any meaningful adjustments on offense over the first three games of the series was pretty troubling). Whether or not you can win a championship with Melo as your primary scoring option is debatable (I think you probably can) but you can’t win just running iso Melo.

  48. Jafa

    Also Frank,

    Why cherry pick 2009-10 to highlight the efficiency of his offense? The offense had a rating of 111.9, the only time a Mike Woodson coached team has rated above 110 on offense. In contrast, SVG achieved that 3 times in his career (110.2 with the 2004-05 Heat, 111.3 with the 2007-08 Magic and 111.4 with the 2009-10 Magic).

    So, on his best day SVG still out coaches him on offense.

  49. Jafa

    By the way Nate McMillan, who is actually available, eclipsed a 110 offensive rating 3 times as well (112.2 with 2004-05 Sonics, 113.9 with 2008-09 Trailblazers and 110.8 with 2010-11 Trailblazers). And he managed way more injuries to key players than Woodson has ever seen to his team.

  50. nicos

    Frank: You know that Woodson’s “iso-Joe” Hawks had the 2nd highest offensive efficiency in the league in 09-10 right?And that he (with Chandler/Shump) is widely acknowledged for the defensive turnaround of the Knicks (21st –>5th in defensive efficiency)?

    The problem with the iso-Joe offense was they had no answer when teams loaded up to stop it in the playoffs. Unless you’re running iso-Jordan, you better have some other sets that your players have run enough to have confidence in to generate good shots on a consistent basis and Atlanta never did (and still doesn’t). It’s hard to make any judgements based on the Miami series- he did try to run a lot of pnr but it’s tough to run it against the best pnr defense in the league when neither point guard can turn the corner off of the screen. My solution? Keep Woodson but hire D’A as his offensive assistant!

  51. phreesh

    My preference would be:
    1) SVG – One of the best coaches currently in the game
    2) JVG – Great basketball mind. Would probably love to retrun to NYC
    3) Woodson – Made those ATL teams better. Seems pretty average, though. I do favour some consistency, however.
    4) Sloan – Another great basketball mind and a genius for the pick and roll, but seems a bit old
    5) Jackson – I don’t know that the triangle fits NYC and his heart really doesn’t seem in it.
    6) Carlisle – I actually love him, but I don’t see him leaving Dallas or Cuban wanted to get rid of him.

  52. JC Knickfan

    ephus: Rivers does not have a contract after this season, so if he elected to come to NY, Boston would not get any compensation.

    I think that it is more accurate to say that Pierce bought into the Big 3 concept based upon Garnett and Allen than to say that Doc Rivers “forced” Pierce to give up on iso-ball.

    I did quick search it says he still signed. I still go Jackson as first choice, but I thank that’s a pipe dream. Does he want his last coaching job to be possible failure?
    Definitely my second would Doc, as I think he could put together great offensive scheme with our Big 3 and Lin.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nba/news/story?id=6540602

  53. BigBlueAL

    Howard Beck RT’d a writer who heard an interview with Jeannie Buss on the radio and he quoted her saying about Phil Jackson “He’s got the energy back.”

    The Knicks better at least talk to Phil Jackson before they re-hire Woodson if thats what they ultimately do. To just assume he is too old and wont have the energy to coach again w/o actually hearing it from him personally would be stupid.

  54. David Crockett

    Doug:

    You should be addressing this to D’Antoni, not Amare. D’Antoni’s the one that encourages slipping the screen. Did you forget that David Lee was doing the same thing all the time in D’Antoni’s first year.

    Sorry for being all day in reply… (beating my head against a paper).

    Even a slipped screen should mimic a screen. David Lee set some solid screens and then also slipped the screen, meaning he got his guy to think a screen was coming and act accordingly. We’ve seen the same from Tyson. He sets fabulous screens and then also sells the screen and slips it. He’s had some nice “forays to the tin” as Walt would say off that action.

    Amare just runs a cut. It’s not even a vague derivative of a screen anymore. I cut a line about D’Antoni needing to get on him more forcefully about it b/c the post was already kinda wordy.

  55. David Crockett

    Z:
    DC– not sure how you can have a conversation like this without any Phil Jackson “tripe”. Jackson is, presumably, the Knicks FO’s #1 choice for the job.

    No doubt NY has demand. I just don’t think it’s realistic. What’s different now than ever? I could be wrong, I don’t think Jax wants the gig.

  56. TelegraphedPass

    Jafa:
    @33,

    Let me help you process this.That was a simple quantitative analysis of the coaches (as in looking at data).The factors you want to examine, like their offensive and defensive systems, is qualitative analysis that can be quiet subjective.Lets see you take a stab at it.

    Oh, about Doc Rivers, people clearly thought he was good before he got to Boston, evidenced by his COY award in Orlando with almost no above average NBA player on the roster, and his ability to keep that team competitive and in the playoffs 3 out of 4 full years there with TMac as his only quality player.

    I’m fully capable of processing that data. But it doesn’t say anything about why those numbers exist. Mike DA’s offensive efficiency with the Phoenix Suns was legendary; with the Knicks less so. Personnel changes will do that. You are making the case that because these coaches had superior offensive and defensive numbers with recent teams that they are better coaches than Mike Woodson. There is a logical leap of faith you’re taking by making that statement.

    Oh, and about Doc Rivers. I didn’t say he wasn’t regarded as a good coach before Boston. I said he wasn’t regarded as a great coach his first years IN Boston. Bill Simmons went so far as to demand his resignation before the Big Three signed and changed everything. Simmons talks about it sometimes today as one of the glaring instances where he got it wrong.

  57. TelegraphedPass

    Also, there is no real evidence that isolation plays are inherently unsuited to the playoffs. The implication seems to be that iso ball fails in the playoffs because defenses “key in to it.”

    So they don’t/can’t key in to it during the regular season?

    How is it more predictable than an offense that runs solely pick and rolls? Wouldn’t that be just as predictable?

    Ideally, you want to run the plays your opponent struggles to guard. So a pick and roll offense would struggle against a defense featuring noted PnR saboteur Kevin Garnett, for example. Against Boston, you probably would do better running an iso offense through your small forward because you’d force Pierce to go one on one with your player. I’d rather do that than pick and roll against KG.

    There is no offense inherently suited or unsuited to the playoffs, so this hatred of iso ball is flawed. This team currently runs it far too often with a player who has been inconsistent from the field all year, but Melo had a down shooting year. If Woody returns, I would hope he’d come up with new ideas to vary the offense.

    *looks at news story stating Woodson’s desire to get stronger post play out of STAT*

  58. TelegraphedPass

    nicos: The problem with the iso-Joe offense was they had no answer when teams loaded up to stop it in the playoffs.Unless you’re running iso-Jordan, you better have some other sets that your players have run enough to have confidence in to generate good shots on a consistent basis and Atlanta never did (and still doesn’t).It’s hard to make any judgements based on the Miami series- he did try to run a lot of pnr but it’s tough to run it against the best pnr defense in the league when neither point guard can turn the corner off of the screen.My solution?Keep Woodson but hire D’A as his offensive assistant!

    Agree with most of this. Woodson hasn’t shown himself to be a great offensive coach. He criminally underutilized Al Horford in that offense. I don’t think Woody nor Drew got the most out of the Johnson/Smoove/Horford core. Those are great players. Then again, I’m not sure that core was ever meant to beat Boston/Cleveland/Orlando. There were some stacked teams in the East to compete against.

  59. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    David Crockett: No doubt NY has demand. I just don’t think it’s realistic. What’s different now than ever? I could be wrong, I don’t think Jax wants the gig.

    We can talk all day about the dominance of Jordan, Magic, Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Duncan, et al., but Phil Jackson is unequivocally the greatest basketball coach in NBA history. I would dare say that every team minus the Spurs would dump their head coach in a heartbeat if Jax agreed in principle to a multi-year deal. If he wants a job, he can get one — and one with a much better team than the Knicks (Oklahoma City ain’t exactly LA, but he could easily win another three championships there). Hell, the Lakers are still much better than the Knicks, even after losing Odom (and receiving another gift in Sessions). Aside from money, I don’t see why he would want another job unless it was with the very best set of basketball players available to him. I’m with you, here.

  60. Doug

    David Crockett: Sorry for being all day in reply… (beating my head against a paper).

    Even a slipped screen should mimic a screen. David Lee set some solid screens and then also slipped the screen, meaning he got his guy to think a screen was coming and act accordingly. We’ve seen the same from Tyson. He sets fabulous screens and then also sells the screen and slips it. He’s had some nice “forays to the tin” as Walt would say off that action.

    Amare just runs a cut. It’s not even a vague derivative of a screen anymore. I cut a line about D’Antoni needing to get on him more forcefully about it b/c the post was already kinda wordy.

    STAT slipping all his picks was devastatingly effective with Nash, because Nash could always get him the ball at the perfect moment when he had an extra step on his man. I agree that he needs to start setting some real picks just to keep defenses honest, he’s playing with decidedly non-Nash point guards now.

  61. Doug

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: We can talk all day about the dominance of Jordan, Magic, Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Duncan, et al., but Phil Jackson is unequivocally the greatest basketball coach in NBA history. I would dare say that every team minus the Spurs would dump their head coach in a heartbeat if Jax agreed in principle to a multi-year deal. If he wants a job, he can get one — and one with a much better team than the Knicks (Oklahoma City ain’t exactly LA, but he could easily win another three championships there). Hell, the Lakers are still much better than the Knicks, even after losing Odom (and receiving another gift in Sessions). Aside from money, I don’t see why he would want another job unless it was with the very best set of basketball players available to him. I’m with you, here.

    There aren’t many practical reasons for Phil to come to New York. He doesn’t need the money and New York aren’t championship contenders now. Probably the only reasons why he would come would be sentimental: to take on one last great challenge of coaching the Knicks to a title; to finish his career where he started. The odds are highly unlikely.

  62. Nick C.

    Doug: STAT slipping all his picks was devastatingly effective with Nash, because Nash could always get him the ball at the perfect moment when he had an extra step on his man. I agree that he needs to start setting some real picks just to keep defenses honest, he’s playing with decidedly non-Nash point guards now.

    On first blush it sounds as if he needs a Nash to make it work, but then I recall that after a few weeks it worked very well with Felton, who no matter how much we loved him is nowhere near that level. So maybe all that is needed is time. But all of that happened with Amare playing center and the forwards well away from the paint.

  63. ruruland

    TelegraphedPass:
    Also, there is no real evidence that isolation plays are inherently unsuited to the playoffs. The implication seems to be that iso ball fails in the playoffs because defenses “key in to it.”

    So they don’t/can’t key in to it during the regular season?

    How is it more predictable than an offense that runs solely pick and rolls? Wouldn’t that be just as predictable?

    Ideally, you want to run the plays your opponent struggles to guard. So a pick and roll offense would struggle against a defense featuring noted PnR saboteur Kevin Garnett, for example. Against Boston, you probably would do better running an iso offense through your small forward because you’d force Pierce to go one on one with your player. I’d rather do that than pick and roll against KG.

    There is no offense inherently suited or unsuited to the playoffs, so this hatred of iso ball is flawed. This team currently runs it far too often with a player who has been inconsistent from the field all year, but Melo had a down shooting year. If Woody returns, I would hope he’d come up with new ideas to vary the offense.

    *looks at news story stating Woodson’s desire to get stronger post play out of STAT*

    guys, guys , guys

    Atlanta was not just the second most efficient offense in the NBA in 2009-2010, they were tied for 7th in assist percentage!!!!

    Mike Bibby was their starting point guard (averaging 5.1 apg)!!!!

    Since Woodson left, the Hawks have dropped to 19th and 20th in offensive efficiency since.

    Of course the Hawks ran their offense through Joe Johnson — he was their most talented offensive player. And of course they ran an isolation based offense —- they lacked a pick and roll point guard.

    None of that stopped them from being a good passing team, a running team, and a slashing offense — they had a balanced attack.

  64. ruruland

    TelegraphedPass: Agree with most of this. Woodson hasn’t shown himself to be a great offensive coach. He criminally underutilized Al Horford in that offense. I don’t think Woody nor Drew got the most out of the Johnson/Smoove/Horford core. Those are great players. Then again, I’m not sure that core was ever meant to beat Boston/Cleveland/Orlando. There were some stacked teams in the East to compete against.

    They’ve significantly regressed on offense sinceh left.

  65. Owen

    “The 2011-12 Knicks improved their win percentage over 2010-11 (55%, up from 51%), against a tougher schedule (11th in SRS, up from 15th).”

    Just a clerical note, I think the Knicks actually finished the season with the weakest SOS in the nba..

    To me, the difference in the knicks record with Woodson was very deceptive. They wildly underperformed their differential with dantoni and then outperformed a bit with Woodson.

    I don’t think coaches matter much but I would put a vote in for Jackson, though I dont think he would come…..

  66. ruruland

    Owen:
    “The 2011-12 Knicks improved their win percentage over 2010-11 (55%, up from 51%), against a tougher schedule (11th in SRS, up from 15th).”

    Just a clerical note, I think the Knicks actually finished the season with the weakest SOS in the nba..

    To me, the difference in the knicks record with Woodson was very deceptive. They wildly underperformed their differential with dantoni and then outperformed a bit with Woodson.

    What?

    You understand that under Woodson they were a +8.6 in the 24 games (with all lineups and injuries), playing a far, far more difficult schedule than they did under MDA.

    The win % prorates to 61 wins over an 82 game season, but the point differential is even better than that.

  67. ruruland

    As a matter of perspective Owen, the Knicks +8.6 differential is only topped by Cleveland in ’08 (66 wins) Boston in ’07 (66 wins)

    Those are the only teams in the last 10 years to top 8.6 differential.

    The Knicks record under Woodson was deceptive, Owen — it should have been MUCH better than 18-6.

    There’s no way around it my friend, they were UTTERLY dominant under Woodson.

  68. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: We can talk all day about the dominance of Jordan, Magic, Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Duncan, et al., but Phil Jackson is unequivocally the greatest basketball coach in NBA history. I would dare say that every team minus the Spurs would dump their head coach in a heartbeat if Jax agreed in principle to a multi-year deal. If he wants a job, he can get one — and one with a much better team than the Knicks (Oklahoma City ain’t exactly LA, but he could easily win another three championships there). Hell, the Lakers are still much better than the Knicks, even after losing Odom (and receiving another gift in Sessions). Aside from money, I don’t see why he would want another job unless it was with the very best set of basketball players available to him. I’m with you, here.

    The Lakers aren’t much better than the Knicks bud. You do understand that the Knicks SRS was better than the Lakers this year?

    Why is it so hard for you to stay consistent….

  69. jon abbey

    Owen:

    Just a clerical note, I think the Knicks actually finished the season with the weakest SOS in the nba..

    4th weakest, and most of the Eastern conference was pretty close, the top 10 went from .482 to .489 (NY was at .484) and only the Celtics and Heat had a SOS over .500.

  70. New Guy

    ephus: Rivers does not have a contract after this season, so if he elected to come to NY, Boston would not get any compensation.

    Doc Rivers signed a 5 year extension last May. Unless that’s been voided, he’s off the table.

    Woodson will be back. Dolan has assembled a roster whose ceiling is 54 wins and a 2nd round playoff exit, and Woodson is just the man to maximize that potential.

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