The fact that New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and owner James Dolan met is not a good thing.
Dolan just spent a billion dollars to makeover Madison Square Garden and losing just doesn’t keep people in their seats. The time is for Woodson to reevaluate his strategies and make changes, or Dolan will take things into his own hands.
Chris Herring reported: Woodson, on his reported meeting w Dolan: “That’s not your all’s business. That’s me and my owner’s business.”
The fact that the Knicks played at home with a lack of intensity, chemistry and energy, is the first sign that a coach is losing his team. I was not in the meeting, but when the boss calls you into the office after a bad loss; it is never a good thing. Let us not forget, Glen Grunwald, was fired prior to the Knicks first loss.
To fill seats, to keep Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks need to be competitive.
Prior to the start of the season Dolan said he expected a lot this season and so far the team has disappointed with a 2-4 start. It really went bad on Sunday when the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Knicks 120-89. This is not the start he wanted. Woodson needs to change his formulas and playing players out of position is not good for chemistry. This team just looks lost and a coach must accept responsibility and make the appropriate changes.
ESPN.COM, reported, “Losing is one thing, but not competing is not a good sign for a head coach and Dolan might take it as a sign that Woodson has lost the locker room. Yes the team has a bunch of injuries, however the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns don’t have as much talent as the Knicks, but they play hard and are getting results”.
Woodson must face the facts, his team has no chemistry and is lacking on both ends of the court. To win, he must make changes, and quickly. The season is young and this team has talent. When Woodson came to the Knicks, he stated he would make the players accountable. This season he has not.
It seems each game the Knicks give up 30 or more points per quarter. This was happening even prior to Tyson Chandler’s injury. Sunday the Spurs scored 35 points in the first quarter, more than double the Knicks 17. This has been a common occurrence; this is not a consistent defensive team.
For the Knicks to win and develop chemistry and confidence, he must stop playing players out of position.
Let’s face the facts, Iman Shumpert is a two, not a three, Raymond Felton is a one, not a two, Andrea Bargnani is a four not a five. You have guards playing forwards, forwards playing center, point guards playing shooting guards and it is just not working.
Felton was abused again Sunday as Tony Parker drove past him at will. Felton needs to stop making faces, stop apologizing, he needs to step up his game, or Woodson needs to start Beno Udrih, who owns two championship rings and did a good job with Orlando last year, or Toure Murry.
Shumpert is a two guard, not a forward. He needs to cover the other team’s best shooting guard, not their forwards. Shumpert has potential and other GM’s love his potential. He needs to play his natural position, or trade him while he still has value. Do I want to trade Shumpert? No, but we need a point guard. Maybe Detroit will trade Brandon Jennings (who is not starting) for Shumpert and Felton. Having J.R.Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. makes him unfortunately expendable. He is a better player than he has played.
Sunday he shot 1-of-5 and played only 22 minutes. This is a player playing beneath his potential and is in Woodson doghouse on a continual basis, while Felton and Smith get a pass.
The Spurs starting backcourt of Danny Green and Tony Parker scored 41 points. The Knicks starting backcourt of Pablo Prigioni and Felton scored 10 points. Felton scored seven points on 3-for-10 shooting with only two assists and was a minus 18. You will not win in the NBA with a weak compromised backcourt.
In addition, the Knicks again were out rebounded 51-33. Consider this. Cole Aldrich, who Woodson refuses to play, had seven rebounds in eight minutes. That is almost one rebound per minute, yet was he rewarded with more minutes? No.
Only Carmelo Anthony had more rebounds, as he had eight in almost 35 minutes. Either play Aldrich, trade for a center, or sign a center like Earl Barron. Even Barron or Aldrich would be better than Bargnani at center.
Whatever they do, Woodson must stop playing every player out of position. Aldrich was one of two Knicks in the plus category, he was plus 2. Murry was a plus 1. Aldrich is big and can rebound, he brings good frontcourt energy and can block up the middle.
Bargnani is a wing player, a scorer, not a center. Playing players out of their natural position only confuses them and hinders their talent. Bargnani shot 5-for-10 from the field and co-led the Knicks in scoring with 16 points, but only had one rebound. Again, he is not a center
Murry who plays good defense deserves a look as he shot 2-for-3 and plays solid defense. If Felton can’t defend, give the rookie a chance.
Jeremy Lin was a far superior defender than Felton. The Knicks gave up an asset in Lin for nothing, in-spite of his deficiencies he would add chemistry to the Knicks backcourt and is missed. His fire, his energy, his intensity, is just missing in today’s backcourt.
Woodson needs to consider starting Udrih and Shumpert in the backcourt, Anthony and Metta World Peace at forwards and either Kenyon Martin or Amar’e Stoudemire at center, with Aldrich coming off bench.
MWP and Martin would add a toughness and hopefully prevent our regular first quarter collapse. Is this the solution? I don’t know. What I do know is if you do the same thing the same way, don’t expect a different result.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a best-selling author www.5minutemotivator.com
Or follow him on twitter @drekaplan