One of the major problems with the New York Knicks 9-21 start to the season is that the players seemed to be able to get away with anything, both on and off the court.
It’s always a major problem when a player isn’t held accountable and that’s one thing that Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson liked to preach but not practice.
That hasn’t been the case any longer since the calendar has turned to 2014 as Woodson has done just the opposite and is handing out discipline like its Halloween candy, most notably by benching guard J.R. Smith on two separate occasions.
So what brought about the change?
While I like what Woodson has done and the Knicks have responded, it looks like his waving an iron fist is an order from higher up.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Woodson was given the green light by owner James Dolan and general manager Steve Mills to tighten things up.
J.R. Smith is in many ways a charter member of Mike Woodson’s ‘accountability club,’ a new initiative the head coach started in 2014 at the request of upper management.
According to a team source, Garden chairman James Dolan and team president Steve Mills felt that Woodson wasn’t holding his players accountable amid the Knicks’ slow start, when they went 9-21.
Smith certainly has felt Woodson’s wrath, but in addition to trying to send a message to the out of control Smith, Woodson is also sending one to the entire team that there will be consequences for your actions.
It’s about time.
With Woodson holding his players accountable, the Knicks are 6-2 in 2014, only a half-game outside the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture heading into Thursday night’s contest against the Indiana Pacers.
Woodson’s recent wave of discipline isn’t the sole reason for the Knicks sudden turnaround, but it is a factor.
Allowing the Knicks to focus on playing basketball and not a whole bunch of other nonsense has resulted in a few wins and have given this team some life.
We will see in the future if Woodson continues to discipline his players, but so far the results have been good.