Tommy DeeMy twitter timeline was flooded last night with the inquiry, and it’s a question that Lori Rubinson asked me this morning on WFAN.
Why didn’t Mike Woodson reach down the bench and call Chris Copeland’s number last night?
You won’t find a bigger Copeland fan than me. I wanted Woodson to give him all of either James White’s or Steve Novak’s minutes during the season. All the guy does is score.
I remember talking to Lang Whitaker earlier in the year on the podcast. No one in the media, in my mind, knows Woodson’s tendencies better than Lang, who had the chance to spend plenty of time with him while he was captaining the Hawks. The fact is Woodson has been outmatched by Frank Vogel in two of the first three games. Vogel to a man, again, had all of his guys ready to play last night. Like in Game 1, Woodson didn’t. That’s on the coach.
What’s also on the coach is the ability to adjust and when talking to Lang he was very honest in saying that of all the time he spent with Woody he never talked about offense.
So it comes as no surprise that Woodson didn’t pull the trigger and add Copeland’s sharp shooting to the mix. To be fair, I can understand Woodson’s hesitation in relying on an inexperienced forward who struggles defensively against the Pacers’ bigs. To me it’s less of a knock on Cope as it is a direct message to Tyson Chandler, Melo, Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire to outplay Hibbert, Hansbrough and David West.
From an adjustment perspective, I felt Woodson did well in Game 2 to defend the perimeter and take Lance Stephenson and DJAugustin, the two players who really killed them offensively.
In a must-win situation it will be interesting to see what adjustments Woodson will make on George Hill and Hibbert defensively and if he decides make a small sacrifice and plans to integrate more space and shooting from Copeland offensively.