Knicks Better Off with Mike Woodson?
Painting the picture with broad strokes, the 2011-12 New York Knicks’ narrative has centered around a trio of players: Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. But nobody has been more vital to the team’s ongoing storyline this season than the Knicks’ coaches Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson.
This is because New York’s season has unfolded in clearly defined sections. First, with Lin glued to the bench, D’Antoni directed Anthony and Stoudemire in a stagnant offensive attack. Out of desperation, D’Antoni placed Lin in the starting lineup at point guard and the team proceeded to win eight of nine games and, in fact, went 6-for-7 while Anthony was injured. Upon Anthony’s return, the Knicks backslid against a much tougher schedule and lost six straight, which resulted in D’Antoni’s dismissal.
Mike Woodson took over and won 6-of-7, but lost Lin and Stoudemire to injury. Since then, the Knicks have gone 3-2, but Anthony has excelled individually in a slower-paced attack. Indeed, the Knicks have played considerably better since Woodson replaced D’Antoni as head coach.
It might not come as a shock that the Knicks have been better defensively under Woodson, who improved the Hawks from 29th to 13th in defensive efficiency during his tenure in Atlanta. But consider their offense in which the results have been nothing if not a surprise. Although D’Antoni has traditionally been considered one of the best offensive coaches in the game, the Knicks’ offense has been significantly more efficient under Woodson’s watch. Of note is New York’s shooting, which has improved nearly two full points of effective field goal (eFG) percentage, and a major increase in offensive rebounding (led by Tyson Chandler’s impressive 13.9 offensive rebounding percentage since Woodson took over).