Kenny Payne leaves Knicks to become Louisville’s first black coach: ‘It was not easy’

New York Knicks, Kenny Payne

Like Mike Woodson, Kenny Payne could not turn his back on his alma mater. And so the New York Knicks lost another top assistant coach for the second straight season.

Payne was formally introduced as the new Louisville men’s basketball head coach Friday in an emotional press conference. He became the first black coach of one of the top college basketball programs, where he won an NCAA title in 1986.

Shortly after Payne’s hiring was officially announced, Knicks president Leon Rose released a statement.

“We are beyond thrilled for Kenny Payne that he will have the opportunity to coach his alma mater, Louisville. We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for his contributions over the past two seasons,” Rose said.

Payne was three of the handpicked coaches of the Knicks executive vice president William Wesley to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff at the beginning of their tenure last season. Only Johnnie Bryant, the former Utah Jazz assistant, remains with the Knicks after Woodson left the team for his alma mater, Indiana University, midway last season.

Before Payne started his press conference, he thanked the Knicks organization, especially James Dolan, the team governor, with whom he had a conversation on the eve of his formal introduction in Louisville.

“That organization has been unbelievable to me and to walk away from it — and for [Dolan] to give me his blessing — it was not easy. More than I could tell you, it was not easy,” Payne said. “To leave my brothers Leon Rose and William Wesley was not easy. For the last few days, Leon, William, and I cried six, seven times a day for me to get out of there and come here. So, this was not an easy deal to just walk in here.”

Payne also thanked the Knicks coaching staff and everyone in the organization and made a special mention of Thibodeau.

“Again, it was an unbelievable experience with them, and I owe them the world,” Payne added.

Payne’s contract with Louisville will take effect Monday and run through 2028 to the tune of $3,350,000 per year, including bonuses. He was one of the top assistant coaches in college basketball with Kentucky and one of the highest-paid assistants in the NBA. He was reportedly making over $1.5 million annually with the Knicks.

His return to Louisville makes Payne the fourth-highest paid head coach in the ACC behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski’s ($7.3 million), Virginia’s Tony Bennett’s ($3.6 million), and Pittsburgh’s Jeff Capel ($3.53 million).

Payne will make slightly higher than Woodson ($3.125 million) in Indiana but much lower than his predecessor at Louisville, Chris Mack, who made $4.3 million before his firing. A first-time head coach, Payne will also make much lower than his friend and mentor, Kentucky’s John Calipari ($8.6 million).

It is unclear if the Knicks will hire another assistant coach to replace Payne in Thibodeau’s coaching staff. The team did not make new addition after Woodson left last season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks: The growth of Mitchell Robinson in the eyes of Tom Thibodeau

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

When Tom Thibodeau became the New York Knicks head coach, one of the first things he did was send his assistants Mike Woodson and Kenny Payne down to New Orleans to work out Mitchell Robinson.

Woodson didn’t like what he saw.

“He wasn’t in shape, and I just didn’t know how much he would allow you to push him,” Woodson said in an SNY interview last May.

It was the first wrinkle on the Robinson-Thibodeau relationship. Robinson, who was 22 at that time, followed that up with an abrupt exit from the Knicks’ pre-training camp bubble for personal reasons.

That prompted Thibodeau to say at the start of the training camp last year that Robinson has a long way to go and has a lot of room for growth in terms of professionalism and impacting winning.

“I think [Robinson] has had some really good moments, but I think he’s got a long way to go,” Thibodeau said last year. “The work part, the professionalism to continue to grow to impact winning, there’s a lot of room for growth. I don’t know where he’ll end up. There are things he can do that are very unique. I think we’re very fortunate to have Nerlens Noel. In some ways, he’s very similar when you look at rim protection. We’re excited about both guys.”

But over time, those wrinkles were ironed out. Before the season started, Robinson won the starting job and showed some growth until two major injuries limited him to only 31 games.

This summer, the Knicks sent some of their personnel in New Orleans to ensure that he was on the right track to full recovery.

Six months since his foot surgery, Robinson has yet to participate in contact drills. The Knicks are taking a cautious approach.

At the start of his second training camp under Thibodeau, Robinson was a limited participant. The plan is to bring him along slowly. But unlike last year, there were no asterisks in Thibodeau’s remarks about the Knicks’ young center, who is entering a contract year.

“It’s encouraging because each day, he’s doing more and more. He feels really good, which is important,” Thibodeau said Tuesday at the start of the NBA Training Camp.

Robinson bulked up and became more serious about his craft. The Louisiana native, who never had a coaching structure as solid as he has now under Thibodeau, became a student of the game.

“He’s put a lot of time into film study. He’s done things where he’s sitting in a chair, handling the ball, shooting out of the chair, stationary shooting, form shooting, cardio on the pool, cardio on the bike. You guys can see the physical difference. He’s done a lot of strength training. He’s handled it well as you can handle it.”

Thibodeau’s culture of accountability has allowed Robinson to grow not only physically but internally. The Knicks’ former second-round pick has never been this driven. He speaks about going after the Defensive Player of the Year award. And he’s backing that up with a work ethic that wasn’t there in his early years in the league after flip-flopping his way into the NBA, shunning the college route.

While the injuries cut short his promising third season and first under Thibodeau, the initial setback has set him up for a big bounce back.

“I think sometimes when you have some time off like that, you can take a step back and get a broader view of everything,” Thibodeau said. “I think he has a good understanding of how important practice, preparation is just by observing the playoffs last [season]. When you go back to the last season, he’s had a number of big games against quality teams for us. What he brings to our team is unique, and his contributions to the team are important,” Thibodeau said.

In a marquee matchup against Rudy Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, back in January at home, Robinson battled him toe-to-toe with a complete line — nine points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks against only two fouls in a 112-100 Knicks victory. Gobert finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks.

In a 130-110 rout of the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks early in the season, Robinson helped limit Brook Lopez to just six points on 2-of-7 shooting and two rebounds.

He had back-to-back double-double games against Charlotte (12 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, two blocks) and Brooklyn (10 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks) in February. More than a week later, he started a five-game West Coast trip with an 18-point, 8-rebound, 2-block performance against Golden State.

Robinson collected five double-doubles, 10 games with double-digit rebounds, and 15 games with at least two shot blocks in the 31 games he played. The Knicks went 15-16 with him in the lineup.

While those were not enough for the Knicks to give Robinson an extension this offseason, the time he spent away from the court had made him hungrier.

Thibodeau is watching Robinson grow right before his eyes. The injuries are turning out to be a blessing in disguise.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Former Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson raves about team’s progression, RJ Barrett

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

The New York Knicks are just one day away from facing off against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening in their opening series of the postseason. The Knicks have enjoyed the week off to gather their strength and prepare mentally for their first appearance in the postseason since 2013.

The progress this team has made in just one season has been tremendous, thanks to Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle. However, we shouldn’t discount the chemistry between the players, the performance of Derrick Rose, and the development of second-year shooting guard RJ Barrett. One former Knicks coach had nothing but great things to say about Barrett and the current state of the team.

SNY’s Ian Begley interviewed Mike Woodson, the Knicks’ former HC, to discuss the development of the team and especially RJ Barrett:

“The chemistry is fantastic because you haven’t had any issues off the floor or on the floor. They don’t fight amongst each other on the floor; they push each other, they’re all positive. It’s just a solid group of guys that’s been assembled in New York this year, solid.”

Woodson left the Knicks to become the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers men’s team. As a 10 year veteran in the NBA and spending the last few years as a coach at the NBA level, he was ready to make the shift and take on a new challenge.

Mike spoke specifically about RJ Barrett, who has experienced major progress this year with his shooting. He’s averaging 17.6 points per game, an increase of 3.3 compared to his rookie season. He also has made a jump in rebounds at 5.8, assists, 3.0, and is shooting .441 from the field. His most impressive statistic, though, has been the improvement of his three-point shooting, currently hitting on .401 of shots over 4.3 attempts per game.
“He’s made a major, major jump. Johnny (Bryant)’s worked with him some and he’s made the leap. Everyone was questioning and doubting him coming into the season, saying he can’t shoot. And he proved them wrong. But there’s always another level. Is he there yet? No, he’s not there. But he’s headed in the right direction, I’ll tell you that.”
Barrett has been a catalyst for the Knicks on offense this year, and his chemistry with Randle has proved to be one of the main factors behind their success. As long as Randle is drawing attention and healthy, Barrett continues to feed in the corners as one of the best shooters in the league from the baseline.
New York will need both Julius and RJ to be playing at their peak potential as they prepare for the Hawks on Sunday.

Lucky 8! Knicks pull out gutsy OT win over Hawks to move to solo 4th

Mike Woodson was the last coach to guide New York Knicks to an eight-game winning streak.

Woodson watched at courtside on Wednesday night as the current Knicks matched his 2014 team’s record with a come-from-behind 137-127 overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Returning to The Garden for the first time since he left the team and accepted the head coaching job at his alma mater Indiana University, Woodson was treated to Julius Randle’s third 40-point performance this season. And more importantly, the Knicks (33-27) grabbed the solo fourth in the East with 12 games remaining in their schedule.

Randle scored 13 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Knicks wiped out an eight-point deficit.

“It sounds good (to have the sole possession of the fourth seed). I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. But we’re not done yet,” Randle said.

In a game with the intensity and physicality of a playoff match, the Knicks proved to be the steadier team.

Bodies flew everywhere in a bloody war for playoff positioning.

Taj Gibson went down in the first half with a laceration on his eyelid and never returned. Nerlens Noel took a blow to his mouth but came back in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks were unluckier as their leader Trae Young left the game late in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. Young’s injury left the door wide open for a Knicks comeback.

The Knicks seized the opportunity, erasing an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been challenged throughout the season, and sometimes they haven’t gone our way,” Randle said. “But right now, we’re finding ways to close games and win games.”

Rookie Immanuel Quickley rose to the occasion, igniting a 12-0 Knicks run with two booming triples. Randle punctuated the run with four straight free throws as the Knicks grabbed a four-point lead, 113-109, their first lead in the second half.

Without Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic stepped up for the Hawks and scored seven of the last Hawks’ nine points inside the final 2:48 to force overtime. He hit the game-tying corner three off a beautiful inbound play with 6.9 seconds left.

Randle missed a tough fadeaway at the buzzer. But he redeemed himself with a big triple and two crucial assists in the extra time.

Quickley, who took over the point guard role after Derrick Rose fouled out late in the regulation, jumpstarted the Knicks’ finishing kick in overtime. He hit a runner off the glass, followed by Randle’s huge triple.

“This was a playoff-type atmosphere,” Quickley said. “As an NBA player, you have to be ready to step up.”

Randle then set up Reggie Bullock for another three and Noel for an easy slam that opened up a 10-point lead.

The Hawks (32-27) never recovered, and they slid to the fifth spot in the East.

It was Randle’s second 40-point game against the Hawks as the Knicks swept their season series. Randle dropped 28 and season-high 44 points in their two previous meetings. It marked the first time New York has swept Atlanta since the 2012-13 season where they last went to the playoffs.

Clint Capela survived a nasty fall in the fourth quarter and led Atlanta with a monster game of 25 points and 22 rebounds. The Hawks dominated inside the paint, 64-52, but the Knicks continued to stay hot from the outside.

New York had 19 triples on a whopping 54.3 percent.

Randle and Bullock each had six, while Quickley added four.

Randle rounded up his stat line with 11 rebounds and six assists. Bullock added 18, all from beyond the arc.

Rose and Quickley sizzled off the bench with 20 points apiece. RJ Barrett overcame another rough first half to finish with 16 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He was 1 for 9 in the first two quarters, but he hit his strides in the third with nine points.

Young was having a stellar game (20 points, 14 assists) before tweaking his left ankle. Bogdanovic contributed 20 points.

The Knicks will have a shot at rewriting history against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Woodson, who was part of Thibodeau’s staff at the start of the season, couldn’t be happier to see this team grow. He went home with Randle’s autographed jersey as a souvenir for matching his 2014 Knicks’ feat.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks assistant Mike Woodson nearing deal to coach Indiana University

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

You know the New York Knicks are headed in the right direction when their coaching staff is in demand.

Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant and assistant Kenny Payne have both begged off from college coaching opportunities with the University of Utah and DePaul. But Mike Woodson could not turn his back from his alma mater.

Woodson is expected to accept an offer to coach Indiana University, according to multiple reports.

Indy Star was the first to report the news.

The reported deal will make Woodson the Hoosiers head coach for the next six years, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau made it clear that the Knicks organization will not stand in the way for his assistant coaches to leave the team for head coaching opportunities in the NCAA.

Thibodeau expressed confidence that they can survive a mid-season exodus.

“I’m very pleased with our staff. We have a great teaching staff,” Thibodeau said. “We have a number of guys who could step up.”

Woodson, who turned 63 last March 24, has no prior coaching experience in college, but he’s bringing more than two decades of NBA coaching experience.

Woodson was the Knicks’ 12th overall pick in the 1980 Draft. He played 11 seasons in the NBA as a journeyman. After hanging up his sneakers, he embarked on a coaching career that started in Milwaukee in 1996. He worked as an assistant coach for 10 years, winning an NBA championship under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown in Detroit.

Woodson got his first head coaching break in Atlanta. He coached the Hawks from 2006-2010, improving each season and leading them to the playoffs three times.

He drifted back to being an assistant before taking over the Knicks job when Mike D’Antoni resigned in 2012. Woodson was the last Knicks head coach to have led the team to the playoffs in 2013. He was fired the following year after the Knicks narrowly missed the playoffs due to a spate of injuries.

Woodson later joined the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant before resigning in 2018. He joined Thibodeau’s coaching staff after being one of the finalists for the job.

Woodson compiled a 315-365 (.463) record in the NBA as head coach.

The Hoosiers will bring Woodson home since he played under legendary coach Bob Knight at IU from 1976-80.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Thibodeau assembles well-rounded coaching staff; Knicks director of performance resigns

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks have reshaped their coaching staff in the hopes of bringing back their glory years.

The Knicks officially announced on Friday the return of Mike Woodson along with the additions of associate head coach Johnnie Bryant and Tom Thibodeau’s trusted guys Andy Greer and Dice Yashimoto.

“With these hires, we have added a wealth of basketball experience and knowledge that will be of great service to our players and our organization,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “All of our coaches have had a high level of success in college, the NBA or internationally. We are assembling a hard-working and well-rounded coaching staff that will embody everything we want to be about: accountability, development, teaching and a winning culture.”

Woodson brings accountability and winning culture to the table being the most accomplished coach in the Knicks franchise history in the last two decades.  He is returning to Madison Square Garden after spending three seasons with the franchise from 2012-2014 before getting unceremouniously fired by Phil Jackson.

Woodson took over from Mike D’Antoni as interim coach late in the 2011-12 where the Knicks went 18-6 to finish the season strong that led to his promotion as head coach.  He went on to guide the Knicks to their first Atlantic Divition title since the 1993-94 season with a 54-28 record in 2013. The 54 wins were the most by any Knicks team since the 1996-97 season. They beat the Boston Celtics, 4-2, in the first round of the playoffs to make it to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2000.  Their phenomenal run ended in the next round with a 4-2 series loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Beset by injuries the following season, the Knicks fell short of the playoffs, finishing 37-45, that led to his ouster.  He ended up with the third-best winning percentage in franchise history (.580) and the seventh-most victories (109-79) by a head coach.

Greer and Yashimoto, meanwhile, were with Thibodeau in his last two stops in Chicago and Minnesota helping him reach post-season success.

Greer has previously served as scout for the Knicks and worked with Thibodeau in Jeff Van Gundy and later on Don Chaney’s coaching staff from 2001-03. He has also spent some time with the USA Basketball, first serving as one of Gregg Popovich’s scout in the 2019 USA World Cup team. He was also an assistant coach under Mike Fratello in the 2020 AmeriCup Qualifying team.

Marc Berman of New York The Post reported that Andy Greer’s younger brother, Larry, has a good chance of reuniting with the group. Larry Greer was also with Thibodeau in Minnesota and most recently served as one of Monty Williams’ assistant coach in Phoenix.

Yashimoto, meanwhile, will reprise his role as Thibodeau’s right hand man. He will serve as assistant to the head coach. Previously, he served Thibodeau as Special Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations in Minnesota.  Yashimoto most recently held the position of Director of Basketball Strategy and Video at University of Georgia, bringing with him an intel on Anthony Edwards, one of the top rookie prospects in this year’s Draft.  Empire Sports Media has learned from a source inside University of Georgia that Yashimoto’s contract with the Bulldogs expires today.

Bryant along with Kenny Payne have built a strong reputation as solid skills and player developmental coaches and players’ whisperers.

In the midst of reshaping the Knicks organization, the team’s long-time Director of Performance Mubarak Malik has stepped down from his post.

Malik has recently announced his emotional yet intriguing resignation on a lengthy Instagram post.


View this post on Instagram

 

Today marks the end of a chapter for me.. I resigned from my dream job. Truthfully, the only job I ever wanted since high school.. I could write a dissertation about how much the last 7 seasons meant to me and how much I’ve grown by working with one of the most prestigious sports teams in the world.. but you know what?? NO ONE can question my tireless work ethic, my daily pursuit of excellence to be the best I could be, so that I could best serve the team or take away the impact I’ve made in the NBA in such a short period time.. and that’s why I’m at peace with my decision. Forever grateful to the Knicks for believing in me and allowing me the freedom to reach a life goal… and to the amazing players I worked with and got to know personally(all of you) THANK YOU. ❤️💪🏽💯 #OnceAKnickAlwaysAKnick #NYC #NewYorkorNoWhere

A post shared by BAR (@mubarakmalik) on Aug 31, 2020 at 12:15pm PDT

 

Malik joins Craig Robinson, the former Vice President of Player Development and Minor League Operations, as the latest members of the Knicks organization who held critical roles in player development to leave.

Robinson, the brother of former First Lady Michelle Obama, left the team in July and has since accepted a post to become the chief of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Malik, meanwhile, has been with the Knicks since 2012-13 season starting out as strength and conditioning coordinator before getting promoted in 2014. He was heavily involved with on-court player development and sports science. Prior to joining the Knicks, he worked with MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates for six years as strength and conditioning coach for both the major league club and throughout its minor league system.  He holds Master’s degree in Movement Sciences from Arizona University.

New York Knicks add Tom Thibodeau’s trusted assistants and Mike Woodson (report)

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

The New York Knicks are on the verge of adding Tom Thibodeau’s most trusted guys Andy Greer and Dice Yoshimoto, along with former Knicks coach Mike Woodson according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Greer and Yoshimoto are no strangers to Thibodeau.  They have been with him since his first head coaching gig in Chicago.

Greer, who recently served as Mike Fratello’s assistant on the USA Olympic Qualifying Team, has been Thibodeau’s defensive coordinator in both Chicago and Minnesota.

Greer and Thibodeau have gone a long way since working together under Jeff Van Gundy’s staff and later on under Don Chaney in New York in the early 2000s.

Greer served as Thibodeau’s defensive coordinator in his last two stops while Yoshimoto has been a “swiss knife” starting out as video coordinator in Chicago and later on becoming a special assistant to the president of basketball operations in Minnesota.  Yoshimoto has also been involved with the University of Georgia as director of basketball strategy and video.

Woodson, meanwhile, has interviewed for the head coaching post, which eventually went to Thibodeau. He’s built a reputation in New York as a modern offensive coach who demanded accountability.  He’s been the last successful Knicks coach in almost two decades.

During the Knicks’ run to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2012-13 season, he guided the team to the third-best offensive rating at 111.1. He was also ahead of the curve as he relied on 3-point shooting to surround Carmelo Anthony. They led the league in both attempts and made 3-pointers per game while ranking fifth in percentage.

After being fired by Phil Jackson the following year, he went on to serve as an assistant coach in the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018.  Prior to coaching the Knicks, he was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010, guiding the team to three consecutive playoff appearances.

The three new assistants will join Kenny Payne and associate head coach Jonnie Bryant under Thibodeau in New York.

New York Knicks: Mike Woodson expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Knicks announced Thibodeau’s hiring on Thursday morning. The former Knicks assistant is the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that Rick Brunson, Daisuke Yoshimoto and former interim head coach Mike Miller are also under consideration to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Woodson was the Knicks head coach from 2012-14. He was promoted to the position in March 2012 in the wake of head coach Mike D’Antoni’s resignation. Woodson joined D’Antoni’s staff for the 2011-12 NBA season.

The Knicks made the playoffs in the first two seasons with Woodson at the helm. In 2012 they lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The ensuing season they were the second seed in the Eastern Conference (54-28), beating the Boston Celtics in the first round and losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Woodson was fired in 2014 after the Knicks went 37-45, missing the playoffs by one game. Owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson to be the team’s president five weeks before Woodson was axed.

Woodson was the Atlanta Hawks head coach from 2004-10, making the playoffs in his final three seasons. Prior to coaching Atlanta, Woodson was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. He was most recently an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Doc Rivers from 2014-18.

New York fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019, subsequently promoting Mike Miller. President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by former agent Leon Rose. The Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau (head coach), William Wesley (executive vice president/senior basketball advisor) and Walt Perrin (assistant general manager) under Rose.

Woodson was a member of Creative Artists Agency, which was previously administered by Rose.

New York Knicks to have their new head coach by July 31st

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks are expected to have their next head coach by July 31st.  This comes from SNY’s Ian Begley.  As of right now, it appears that Tom Thibodeau remains the leader in the clubhouse for the position.

The Knicks and their new team president Leon Rose will interview 11 candidates for the job.  Some of the other interviewees include, Kenny Atkinson, Mike Miller and Mike Woodson.  Other applicants Mike Brown, Jamahl Mosley, Chris Fleming, etc.  And one more name you can throw in, Jason Kidd?  However, there’s no official word that he’ll interview.

While all those other candidates are fine coaches, it’s Tibbs as the front runner for the Knicks gig.

Sports fan these days don’t look at the past.  It’s all about ‘what have you done for me lately’.  In Tibb’s case, his last coaching job didn’t end well.  However, he did take Minnesota to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.  The Knicks are running on a, current, 8 yer drought.

While his last gig had it’s ups and downs, fans like to look at the developmental aspect of Tibbs’ tenure in Minnesota.  While that didn’t go as expected, people forget that he did develop a young Chicago Bulls team.  Rose, Noah and company were in their early 20’s and looking to win a title.  That couldn’t have happened with Thibodeau developing them into winners.  It couldn’t have happened if Tibbs didn’t know how to get the most out of those young players and push them.

A lot of Knicks fans will want Atkinson due to his ability to develop players as well.  He was able to take a Brooklyn Nets team, with a lot of average players, and turn them into a playoff team.  Atkinson also knows how to get the best out of his players.

Whoever the Knicks decide on for their next coach, fans won’t agree.  It comes with the territory of being a Knicks fan, we don’t agree on anything.  But for those fans that don’t want Tibbs, he had a second interview for the New York Knicks job and it’s his to lose.

Mike Woodson getting a third crack at the New York Knicks gig?

New York Knicks, Spike Lee

Former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson could get another crack at it.  It’s reported that Woodson is another candidate to interview for the job.

Woodson was selected by the Knicks out of Indiana in the 1980 draft.  He played one season for the organization before moving into 5 other clubs throughout his 10 year career.

Woodson began his coaching career in 1996 being an assistant for several team including the Knicks.  He got his big break being the coach for the Atlanta Hawks from 2004 to 2010.

After Atlanta let him go, Woodson came into the Knicks staff as an assistant.  Eventually the team would fire Mike D’Antoni and promote Woodson to interim then full- time head coach.

During his 2 seasons at the helm, Woodson went 109-79.  He led the Knicks to 54 wins and a playoff berth in the 2012-13 season.  That year was, by far, Carmelo Anthony’s best as a Knicks and one of the most fun teams to watch.

Woodson actually got another interview in 2018 for the Knicks job.  He lost out to David Fizdale.  So, this will be his 3rd crack at the Knicks gig.

While Woodson is more of a defensive mind coach, his Knicks teams had plenty of scorers.  This current roster does not.  They lack scorers and aren’t above average on defense either.

Interviewing Woodson could just be adding another interviewer to the list.  The Knicks can’t be seriously considering Woodson.  He’s a fine coach but not the one you want to rebuild a team with.  Tom Thibodeau remains the front runner for the New York Knicks head coaching vacancy.