For anyone who followed this situation closely, there was no surprise that Woodson got fired. My only thing was what took New York so long to do so.
To say Woodson was placed in a no-win situation is beyond stating the obvious.
Let’s start with Woodson himself. The team fired general manager Glen Grunwald before the season, who was a good friend of Woodson’s. The Knicks did not give Woodson’s assistant coaches contact extensions. And while the Knicks did pick up Woodson’s option at $3.4 million, he was not given a contract extension, thus making him a lame-duck coach.
As for Woodson’s former team, it fell behind the eight-ball – in some cases before the season even started.
J.R. Smith was suspended the first five games of the season for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy. Amare Stoudamire was playing hurt most of the first half of the season. Tyson Chandler missed over 20 games with a broken leg. Raymond Felton got busted for a domestic dispute that turned into gun possession charges. Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace retired, which let a huge leadership void in the Knicks’ locker room. And last but not least, there was Carmelo Anthony’s impending free agency.
So let me state this one mo’ time: the odds were against Woodson to get back to the playoffs, let alone repeat as Atlantic Division champions.
That being said, Woodson has to learn that you cannot get away with using injuries as an excuse in the NBA. Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has done an outstanding job of keeping the Bulls competitive in back-to-back seasons in the wake of the knee injuries to Derrick Rose. Other good and great coaches adapt to their personnel in the wake of injuries and such.
Look, Woodson is a good coach who didn’t get it done – and he would be the first to say that. Too bad my Knicks didn’t give him the best shot to do so.