New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has done something no Knicks coach has done in the past 13 years- win a playoff series.
He also helped guide the Knicks to an Atlantic Division title and a 54-win regular season, also things not accomplished by a Knicks head coach in a very long time.
Woodson did all of that in his first full season on the Knicks bench, but does that mean that he has done enough to pass the test and convince Knicks fans that he is the guy to lead the Knicks to their ultimate goal, a goal that they haven’t reached in the last 40 years?
I’d say don’t be so fast to rush to that conclusion.
There’s very little doubt that the franchise is in a much better place with Woodson at the helm then with any of his predecessors, but there is one thing that’s missing from Woodson’s resume- playoff success.
In his eight seasons as an NBA head coach, Woodson has been able to win in the regular season.
He’s won over 50 games on two different occasions and has led teams to the playoffs in five straight seasons, including his stint last season as the interim coach of the Knicks.
But once he reaches the postseason, his teams struggle.
Including this season Woodson has compiled only a 17-25 career postseason record and has never made it out of the second round in his five postseason years.
Getting out of the first round is simply not good enough for this Knicks team.
Just like superstar players are judged by what they do in the postseason, coaches are judged by how they perform in the playoffs as well.
Woodson has a lot of tough decisions to make as the Knicks head to Indianapolis for Game 3 on Saturday.
How will he handle J.R. Smith’s struggles? How will he work Amar’e Stoudemire back into the rotation? How will the Knicks attack the Pacers size when they aren’t shooting well from the perimeter?
Good coaches handle those problems and many more when all the chips are on the table.
The great ones are able to make the necessary adjustments and rotation changes on the fly.
Is Woodson that type of coach?
Fortunately he’s got some more time to prove that he is.
If he doesn’t, there has to be some doubts that he’s the right man to lead the Knicks to the promise land.
The pressure isn’t just on Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Knicks players; it’s on Woodson as well.
We will find out shortly if he is up to the challenge.
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