Sometime this week, Mike Woodson is expected to drop the “interim” and officially be named the head coach of the New York Knicks. Woodson, who took over after Mike D’antoni and the team parted ways, finished the season 18-6 with the 7th seed in the playoffs. That playoff run was not very deep though, as the Knicks were bounced out of the first round in five games by the Miami Heat. Woodson, undoubtedly had the Knicks playing a much tougher, defensively focused game than his predecessor had, although some would argue that didn’t take much. Woodson never really had his full lineup to work with, as injuries in the regular season to Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin caused him to alter starting lineups and lessen the depth on his bench. The playoffs were not much kinder to Woodson and the Knicks. Iman Shumpert went down with a torn ACL in game one; he would be out 6-9 months. Stoudemire would miss games two and three after slicing open his hand on a fire extinguisher case he punched in frustration immediately following game 2. Then, in the one game the Knicks did win, Baron Davis completely tore his ACL and MCL, in what could end up being a career ending injuury.
So, it remains unclear as to exactly what Mike Woodson is capable of doing with a New York Knicks team that, at times, looked solely dependent on Carmelo Anthony. Their defense certainly looked improved, the offense once again went through the hands of Carmelo, and the Knicks played with a certain toughness that had not been seen there in years. But, will Woodson be able to coach Carmel into making his supporting cast better? Will he be able to coach Amare into playing a more physical, post oriented power forward position? And, will Woodson’s style mesh with Jeremy Lin upon his return? There is plenty of time to work these issues out, but one more disappointing first round exit from the playoffs, and New York faithfuls will certainly question whether or not this was the right call.