Mike Woodson won’t win Coach of the Year in the NBA this season even if nobody in the league has done a better job than he has, not Gregg Popovich, the best there is, not Erik Spoelstra, who has the best player, not even George Karl, who has a better team now in Denver than he did when he had Carmelo Anthony, who officially became the best scorer in the league this season. Nobody is saying that the Knicks will officially make a run in April and May. Or that Woodson will take his place with other Knick coaches who either won the NBA Finals or coached in one. But you better appreciate the job he’s done and the job he is doing, whatever happens against the Celtics in the kind of first-round series that the Knicks have not won since 2000. Listen to what Jeff Van Gundy, the last coach to make the Knicks really matter, said to me about Woodson a week or so ago: “They’re not a really talented team. They’re a moderately talented team that has completely overachieved. Tyson Chandler is a good to very good center obviously. I think Woodson’s decision to play Carmelo Anthony at the four was the biggest reason that the Knicks have been able to ascend. He’s gotten J.R. Smith to play at the highest level he’s ever played. He’s taken Raymond Felton as a reclamation project from Portland and gotten him to play effectively. “I frankly can’t believe there hasn’t been a larger chorus out of New York for him being Coach of the Year. Now I think you can make a case for a lot of coaches, George Karl, Erik Spoelstra, you can go on and on. But Mike Woodson was the right hire at the right time and people also forget what he took over in Atlanta and how he brought them from like 13 wins into a 50-win team and consistently and somehow that’s gotten lost in the narrative as well.” We are going to find out, starting right now, which Knicks team is the real one from their compelling three-act regular season: The one that started and finished the way it did, or the one that was 20-21, half an NBA season in the middle. There will be a postseason reckoning on that, and on Carmelo, who tries to make this basketball spring into what October was like for Alex Rodriguez in 2009.
Woodson may not win Coach of the Year, but respect what he has done with Knicks
New York Daily News | Apr 21