A few words in praise of Mike Woodson, who to my mind doesn’t seem to be getting enough of the credit for a team with one of the league’s best records along with one of the most impressive and creative offenses. There almost seems to be a sense that Woody’s sort of just standing there watching the whole thing like, “Cool,” without really having anything to do with it. I mean, I’m sure he IS saying “cool,” but still, he’s doing other stuff too.
I can admit that while, yeah, I was happy Woodson was coming back, I wasn’t convinced we were bringing back one of the elites of the sport, but it would be hard pressed to argue that over the first half of this season.
While Stoudemire has gotten a lot of praise for his seamless return, and for his willingness to come off the bench and play whatever role is asked of him — all things he’s rightly receiving hefty praise for — it’s been equally impressive how effectively Woodson has handled the entire situation. His use of Stoudemire has been exceptional, managing his minutes and his role extremely effectively.
Monday’s win over Detroit was a clinic in efficiency, with the Knicks scoring coming almost entirely off either easy buckets in the paint, or clean looks from three-point range. Yes, that was a terrible Pistons team, one that looked lost and alone and slightly unsure what this whole basketball thing was about anyway, but it doesn’t diminish that the Knicks were at times playing pretty perfect ball.
So, sure, the Knicks are taking advantage of something of a soft schedule of late, but it shouldn’t take anything away from the job Woodson is doing, as its truly one of the elite performances by any coach in the league and it seems warranted to point that out.