Tag:Mike Woodson
Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 5:24 pm

D'Antoni's fine with uncertain status with Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

Just because the Knicks hired Mike Woodson doesn't really mean anything. Yeah, it kind of has a look to it, that maybe the Knicks could be gearing up to have a quality interim coach for the remainder of the season if things go south with Mike D'Antoni.

It definitely has kind of an awkward appearance. But D'Antoni is completely fine with everything. Even his potentially "lame duck" status as head coach.

"I'm OK with that," D'Antoni told the New York Daily News. "All coaches are on a one-year deal. It's just whether you get a paid vacation. We have to produce. Every coach in the NBA has to produce. That's the way it is here."

An interesting note from the Daily News though: D'Antoni evidently isn't in the good graces of owner James Dolan so much anymore.
According to a team source, D'Antoni's relationship with Dolan isn't as close as it once was and the coach lost his closest ally when Donnie Walsh stepped down as team president in early June.
D'Antoni basically had his hand forced to alter his assistant coaching staff. He was pretty much instructed to hire a defensive coach and therefore, enter Mike Woodson.

Here's something that will help D'Antoni though: win. That's all you have to do. Start winning games, get to the postseason and play well there. D'Antoni's entering his third season at the helm of the Knicks and in terms of New York time, that's a long while. But he's really done a solid job. He had to recover from a massive trade that turned over almost half his roster and then figure out on the fly how to integrate Amar'e Stoudemire with Carmelo Anthony.

The sweep by the Celtics was ugly and definitely put more pressure on him, but give D'Antoni a little credit. It's been a rough situation. That roster isn't good enough to just win on it's own quite yet.

Doesn't matter though. It's high stakes stuff in New York and Dolan's not going to want to wait around. Maybe Woodson's there to just coach up the defense or maybe he's there as a mid-season replacement. Whatever the case, if the Knicks can get to winning a little, it won't matter.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:49 am

Knicks officially hire Mike Woodson as assistant

By Matt Moore

It's been coming for quite some time, and now the Knicks made it official. The Knicks announced Monday that they have hired former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson as an assistant coach. 

Woodson's playing career actually started with the Knicks as he was drafted 12th by them in the 1980 NBA Draft. He joins the Knicks as a defensive assistant to help shore up the Knicks' porous D.  The question will be whether the personnel is there to make an impact, as Ken Berger recently questioned. Unfortunately, the thing that would help the Knicks defensively the most is to get different habits out of Amar'e Stoudemire, but at his age, it's difficult to see him becoming a dramatically different or better defender at the rim or in the post. Stoudemire's help defense is actually surprisingly good, but man-up he struggles considerably, whether due to skill, effort, or energy conserved for the offensive end. 

There's a certain level of irony that between Joe Johnson who was a free agent in 2010 and Woodson, it's Woodson who was the first one to end up in New York with the Knicks.  
Posted on: August 26, 2011 12:00 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Zero gravity

By Matt Moore

In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5we check in with how much the players are willing to negotiate, the impact of Woodson joining the Knicks, and find out who Ken's top five players in the NBA would be. 

1. So Mo Evans says that the players are "ready to negotiate." Do you believe that, given the non-progress of the talks? The players have offered compromise on BRI as you've reported in the past and as Evans said, but not enough to get any sort of momentum going. How far are the players going to have to head towards the owners just to get talks going in a serious direction?

KB: It's pretty difficult to question the players' willingness and availability to negotiate. The owners, in my view, have been far more intransigent. The players have offered to reduce their share of BRI from 57 percent to 54.3 percent, and despite the fact that everyone wants a kumbaya moment next week or the week after, it ain't happening. Why? Neither side is going to budge until it's forced to. And there are only two things that could do that at the moment: 1) an outcome in the players' NLRB complaint, or B) the calendar.

2. In a podcast with ESPN earlier this month, Stern said that contraction is on the table for the owners, and players. I can hear you giggling with joy. But he mentioned that New Orleans' season ticket sales are strong, and he's been pretty committed to not screwing over an area ravaged by the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, and he also mentioned that no owners are stepping to the plate to offer contraction for their buyout. Considering the owners won't even come together to boot Donald Sterling, how do you get them to move on one of their brethren in order to force a contraction?

KB: Matt, I have a car with more than 125,000 miles on it that I'd like to sell to you. It may be old and have frame damage from a wreck, but she purrs like a kitten when idling in the driveway and only leaks when it rains. In his role as used car salesman, I don't find it unexpected that Stern would say nice things about something he's trying to sell. Also, the NBA is stuck with the Hornets in New Orleans for three more years, per an agreement that was signed when the league took ownership of the team. Everyone can snicker at contraction all they want, but this is what will happen: Once the owners and players agree on a new CBA, whenever that may be, league officials will take a serious look at whether the NBA has franchises in the right cities or too many franchises. It has to be part of the overall re-evaluation of the business model.

3. Mike Woodson reportedly joining the Knicks bench, how much will that help on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "they're still defensive doormats" and 5 being "Chicago 2.0!?'

KB: Well, Mike D'Antoni always says, "I don't need shooters. I need makers." So to be a good defensive team, you need good defenders. Mike Woodson isn't going to change the makeup of the Knicks' offensive-oriented roster. But he'll help some, and the fact that D'Antoni was willing to bring an experienced defensive coach on board to address a deficiency should get some Heat off him in his contract year. So all things considered, I'll say 2.5.

4. We just wrapped up our Elite 100, ranking the top players in the NBA 1-100 based on overall value. Who are your top ten?

KB: You guys did amazing work on those rankings, and it's hard to quibble with your top 10 -- especially just doing this off the top of my head without putting in the thorough research you did. The talent is so good at the top that it becomes a matter of preference. So here are a few very subjective points: 1) Watching the Heat throughout the playoffs, Wade was their best player more often than LeBron; 2) As great as Dwight is, he too often hurts more than he helps offensively late in games; 3) Pau Gasol is supremely gifted, but his lapses in concentration and aggressiveness during the Lakers' brief playoff run haunt me; 4) I love CP3 and D-Will, but just prefer Williams due to his size. So here's how I would go: 1) Wade, 2) Nowitzki, 3) James, 4) Howard, 5) Rose, 6) Kobe, 7) Durant, 8) Williams, 9) Paul, 10) Griffin. Side note: The fact that you have only three 7-footers in your top 10 and I have only two speaks to the rules changes I suggested that would accentuate the strengths of the big man. Guys like Amar'e Stoudemire, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph, and the Gasol brothers should be in the top 10 but the rules are designed for wings and point guards to dominate.

5.Given the Labor Day "unofficial deadline" right around the corner, what are the chances we're losing the entire season in your mind right now as compared to two months ago?

KB: I'm sticking with my prediction of 25 percent. When one side or the other gains leverage in federal court or with the NLRB, and as we get closer to mid-October when regular season games will be jeopardized, we will find out how entrenched each side really is. I believe that only the height of stubbornness and foolishness could cause the entire season to be lost.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:09 am

Report: Woodson to join Knicks bench

By Matt Moore

Apparently Mike Woodson's interview with the Knicks for "defensive coordinator" went pretty well. The New York Daily News reports that Woodson has been telling those close to him that he expects to get the gig. (Side note, who are these people? Family? They're the ones calling up reporters? Is it his pastor? Maybe his dry cleaner? I'm pretty close with my dry cleaner.) From the Daily News:
In the past few days, Woodson had told two confidantes that he expects to join the Knicks. The move might become official next week, according to sources, when Garden and team executives return from vacation. Woodson had what he called a good meeting with D'Antoni earlier this month, but he had people above D'Antoni in his corner from the start.

Woodson's hiring was recommended by Isiah Thomas, a long-time friend and former teammate who continues to serve as Garden chairman Jim Dolan's top unpaid consultant.
via Knicks ready to add former Hawks head coach Mike Woodson as defensive coach on Mike D'Antoni's staff. 

Oh, thank Goodness. I was worried that the Knicks were making decisions based off the recommendations of their former G.M. who is considered one of the worst executives in the history of pro sports and managed to drag the organization into a sexual harrassment suit. But it was just Isiah Thomas. 

Woodson pulled the Hawks up from 18th in defensive efficiency in 2007-2008 to 13th in his final season with the Hawks, before being released in search of a different direction (or however you'd like to characterize Larry Drew). He's not a defensive mind on par with Tom Thibodeau or Lawrence Frank, but in reality, the change of emphasis for the Knicks is really what's important. The only question is if the principles of Mike D'Antoni's offense, even if it's modified to fit this specific set of players, will hinder Woodson's ability to to draft a scheme, should he in fact get the job. 

Woodson may not be a long-term answer for the Knicks, however, as he did interview several times in the last few months for head coaching positions. If nothing else, he'll make a prime candidate to see how D'Antoni handles a defensive assistant who is outside of his usual circle of assistants. 

Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 11:27 am

Report: Knicks to interview Woodson for defense

By Matt Moore

The Knicks have decided to hire a defensive specialist as an assistant coach to see if he can manage to stop the bleeding of the Knicks' defense while they keep the parry and thrust of the offense going with Mike D'Antoni's work. The plan is to have a "defensive coordinator" type guy on staff to provide insight into that end so that D'Antoni can do what he does best, focus on socring tons of points. The Knicks are taking interviews, and it looks like former Hawks head coach Mike Woodson is on the list, via the New York Post

Woodson would be an excellent fit at the position. He knows how to coach both stars and role players, he's a former player, he was drafted by the Knicks and he can balance a line between discipline and support. The Knicks would do well to hire Woodson. 

At the same time, there's only so much an asssistant coach can do. What the Knicks really need is better personnel, particularly at the rim. Trading Timofey Mozgov in the Melo trade was particularly harmful. Yes, he's most known for getting dunked on by Blake Griffin and has a long way to go in every area of his game, but Mozgov showed a willingness to attack defensively at the rim, the Knicks' softest spot. Woodson can improve the talent he's got, but he can't make miracles. Maybe most interesting is what he can do with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, the two biggest minute guys on the Knicks and two guys who need to improve their defense immediately. 

Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:51 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 9:31 am

Timberwolves interview Mike Woodson

By Matt Moore

David Kahn told reporters at the press conference after Kurt Rambis was fired that he was looking for a  coach with "uptempo DNA." That's all the rage in Minnesota. Kahn is aware he can't force the team or its fans to endure another rebuilding stretch to demolish the current rebuilding scheme and survive with his job intact, so he's doing what you do when you have a fast team you can't do anything with: Try and go faster. 

But based off the first couple of candidates Kahn has interviewed outside of Don Nelson (which is all sorts of crazy), the phrase "I do not think that word means what you think it means" comes to mind.

We brought you word Monday that the Wolves were interviewing former Blazer player and former Suns coach Terry Porter. Porter's teams have always erred on the fast side, but much of that is likely due to the makeup of the personnel he was walking into. He hasn't "built" a fast team, he's just coached them. And not very well, at that. He tried to slow down the Suns, which, if you're going to slow them down, you have to go all the way and reshape the entire tempo of the team, not go halfway (and ditch Steve Nash, but that's another conversation). Porter does have experience as an assistant in Minnesota, but that still seems like an odd fit. 

Then there's news Tuesday of the Wolves interviewing Mike Woodson. As for Woodson's fast-break pedigree? Well, let's let SBNation.com point the way:
In announcing the firing of Rambis, Kahn said he'd be looking for a coach more committed to the fast break. Like Porter, Woodson is puzzling in that context. The Hawks finished No. 27 in the NBA in pace factor in Woodson's final season in Atlanta, and over his tenure averaged a finish of No. 20.
via Mike Woodson To Interview For Timberwolves' Head Coach Job - SBNation.com.

Woodson's a good overall coach, and the work he did with the Hawks was underrated (just look at the job Larry Drew did in his first year for reference, despite the team's record and second-round appearance). But he's a poor fit for the Timberwolves, especially within the context of bringing that "uptempo DNA." He has more of a "slow it down and most likely have the ball wind up in an ISO situation DNA" kind of guy (though the ball movement on the Hawks in his term was better than it was with Drew this season). 

It seems like we're piling on here just to pile on Kahn, and maybe that's the case. After all it doesn't make sense to criticize the Wolves for wanting a fast team, then criticize them for bringing in slower coaches. It just doesn't speak well to have a flawed plan to begin with, or rather to say you have a plan that's obviously flawed, and then to take steps which act in total denial of that plan.

But then, them's the breaks, and at this point, the only happy ending for this Wolves team (with Kahn) is for things to just randomly work out, which has happened from time to time. But let it be noted that from this vantage point at this moment in time, the sausage factory looks awfully weird.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:42 pm

Woodson and Frank leaders for Pistons job?

Posted by Royce Young

With the Timberwolves canning Kurt Rambis, there are now two current NBA head coaching positions open, the other being the Pistons. Their search has dragged quite a bit, mainly because it took a little while for the team to fire John Kuester. Reason for that being that the team was in the process of being sold and the new owner Tom Gores wanted to be involved in the process.

Now, there's a new process and it's also taking a while. But maybe the Pistons are honing in on their top choices. According to ESPN.com, the team is looking at two candidates.
Of the five known candidates for job, sources say that former Pistons assistant Mike Woodson is still the closest thing to a favorite, thanks largely to Woodson’s good working relationship with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and the fact that Detroit would know exactly what it’s getting after Woodson’s work under Larry Brown during the Pistons’ 2004 title run.

Yet sources say that one reason Detroit’s search has dragged out so long is the strong impression that Lawrence Frank made on new Pistons owner Tom Gores and his advisers, among them former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts.

Detroit’s choice, then, appears to be a tossup between the unattached Woodson and Frank, who remains part of Doc Rivers’ staff in Boston.
Other top candidates included Kelvin Sampson, Bill Laimbeer and Patrick Ewing. All three interviewed but Sampson is headed to become Kevin McHale's top assistant in Houston and according to the report, the Pistons are looking for a coach with former head man experience anyway. The last two hires the team had -- Kuester and Michael Curry -- were first-time head coaches and neither worked out, obviously.

Woodson has to be the favorite because of his relationship with Dumars and the team, but Frank has a good profile and is a proven winner. His last season in New Jersey was a disaster, but that was hardly all on him.

The Pistons aren't in a huge rush, nor do they need to be. Because of, you know, the lockout and all.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:14 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 9:22 pm

Rockets to interview Kevin McHale, Sam Cassell

The Houston Rockets will reportedly interview Kevin McHale and Sam Cassell for their head coaching position. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

Last week, we noted that the Houston Rockets and former coach Rick Adelman mutually agreed to part ways, a sign that the team is ready to enter a rebuilding phase. It takes the right personality to lead a young team through a rebuilding process, as going from lottery team to playoff team can often be a process that spans multiple seasons in the NBA. 

Based on the early reports, the Rockets and GM Daryl Morey have clearly decided to evaluate all of their options in finding the right person for that position.

Yahoo! Sports reports on Tuesday that TNT commentator, former Minnesota Timberwolves coach and executive, and Hall of Fame Boston Celtics forward Kevin McHale will be granted an interview.
Kevin McHale will interview for the Houston Rockets coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Rockets and McHale are still working on setting a date for the meeting, presumably around McHale’s playoff broadcasting responsibilities, a source said.
MyFoxHouston.com also reported on Tuesday that the Rockets would interview former Rockets point guard and current Washington Wizards coach Sam Cassell as well.
Add former Houston Rockets guard Sam Cassell to the list of candidates who will interview to become the Rockets next head coach.
League sources told FOX 26 Sports Cassell will meet with Rockets officials next week.
Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle has reported that Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson, Rockets assistant coach Jack Sikma, former Rockets forward Mario Elie and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson are among the names under consideration.

Given the circumstances, an NBA lifer with a track record of losing like McHale, whose career record is 39-55, would be a disaster. Retreads and rebuilding are just a bad combination; coaches in these situations should inspire a fanbase, not demoralize it.

Morey is statistically-inclined, so you can be sure whoever he decides upon will at least be open to advice from upstairs. Really, the Rockets are better off seeking a dynamic fresh face with the ability to develop the team's young players and whose act hasn't yet grown tired. Tom Thibodeau, Monty Williams, Erik Spoelstra and Frank Vogel are four coaches who fit that profile and have guided their respective teams to the playoffs this season. 

There's a little bit of a youth movement going on in the NBA coaching ranks, and the Rockets would be wise to get on board that ship.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com