The Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring passes along some interesting stuff about the change in Mike Woodson since he’s been head coach of the Knicks. Never known as an innovator offensively, he’s incorporated a lot more of the spread pick-and-roll approach we’ve seen so much of this year, while still relying on a good a mount of one one one basketball as was his MO with Atlanta. The blend has made the Knicks’ one of the league leaders in offensive efficiency for the bulk of the year:
This season’s Knicks, much like Woodson’s Hawks, play a lot of one-on-one basketball. (In fact, by running isolation plays 14.9% of the time, according to Synergy Sports, the Knicks go one-on-one more than any other team.)
But Woodson’s been a bigger proponent of pick-and-roll basketball in New York. As such, there is been space for frequent three-point shooting—so much that the Knicks are on pace to break the NBA record for attempts in a season. That is progress for a coach who used to frown upon the long-distance shots. “I don’t mind it [anymore] as long as we make them. And we’ve got guys that can make them,” he’s said.
I suppose there have been some down periods this year with Woodson, but he’s proven pretty adept at making adjustments, even if some of them have perhaps not come as quickly as some would like. He’s shown an impressive willingness to experiment with different lineups, and as a result, the Knicks have actually gotten a good amount of contribution from some unlikely sources.
I guess I don’t know if I’m entirely convinced that Woodson is one of the elite coaches in the game, but he’s done little that I would really quibble with, particularly in the midst of a ten-game winning streak. And it’s hard not to be impressed by the way he was able to turn things around when the season appeared on the verge of sputtering out of control out west.