Sure Bargs has been playing well ever since his minutes have increased, especially for fantasy owners, but let’s not forget Bars is still Bargs. These Gifs from reddit users show one of Andrea’s signature moves…or lack thereof.
With Knicks fans having gotten used to the fact that being a fan means putting up with the roller coaster ride that is the organization headed by the infamous, James Dolan, Knicks fans have also had their fair share of players who, to put kindly, like to express themselves.
Over the course of the Knicks history, there have been many outspoken players, the most notable players in recent memory being Latrell Sprewell.
Fresh off a solid game, a good Knicks win, and a conversation about becoming a leader, JR Smith interrupted his usual post game Twitter chatter with some spirited tweets defending his brother Chris Smith:
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) November 14, 2013
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) November 14, 2013
All month long Chris Smith has received attention for occupying a roster spot for no other conceivable reason than to appease JR. When Jeremy Tyler was waived many Knick fans were rightly outraged but the anger subsided a bit. Then as fate would have it, of course, Tyson Chandler’s injury reminded fans again of the waste of a roster spot Chris Smith is on a team lacking a serviceable back-up center. The target of JR’s tweets is supposedly Detroit’s Brandon Jennings who mocked Chris Smith in a tweet which has been deleted but read:
BrandonJennings: Wait wait wait JR smith brother is in the NBA but @PoohJeter & @BBROWNLAU isn’t. Call me hater but not Rollin!!!
at least according to message boards; so it should be interesting to see the Knicks play Detroit next week- It’s marked on my calendar. Still, after all of the trouble JR has gotten into on Twitter, you’d think he be a bit more selective in spouting off tweets. Don’t worry though he made sure things didn’t escalate:
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) November 14, 2013
Despite the tweets, its admirable that he is defending his brother. He’s standing up for his little brother and if you can’t respect that, it says more about you than it does about JR. After all, if JR doesn’t defend him, who will? Certainly not league executives.
After an underwhelming 2-4 start to the season and the stench of Sunday’s lopsided loss against the Spurs still seeping in the air, it’s no surprise that Mike Woodson has suddenly found himself on a really hot seat.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Woodson, but it’s difficult to dismiss his accomplishments. As the fastest Knick coach to 50 wins (in just 72 games) and 74 total regular season wins in just 111 games, there is no denying his efficacy. At one point, though it doesn’t mean much now, he was even cited as the sole coach to “reach” JR Smith, and has gained a reputation for being a loyal Dolan employee. Woodson hasn’t always been accustomed to receiving such accolades as a coach though. Before he came on as an Assistant Coach for the Knicks back when Mike D’Antoni was forced to procure defensive help, Woodson’s vacant stare was a long-time familiar sight for Atlanta Hawk fans.
Woodson’s tenure in Atlanta is pretty forgettable by the numbers. In six full seasons he mounted 323 losses and a .464 winning percentage (.391 in the post-season). Towards the end of his Hawks career he did manage to reach the second round of the playoffs, but his infamous “Iso-Joe” offense and lack of player development ultimately wasn’t enough to gain any real success. Still, I thought it would be interesting to see what Atlanta Hawk fans actually thought of Woodson and if they even miss now that they have had two different coaches since he left. After all, it gives Knicks fans a deeper perspective on how they should feel about Woodson now that he is within range of Dolan’s rage.
These days the most passionate fans are the ones that lament on message boards so I asked the Hawks board on RealGM and Reddit for their thoughts on Woodson. Here are the most common refrains:
Woodson is a regular season coach, not a playoff one:
“He’s a solid Regular Season coach but just REFUSES to make adjustments in the playoffs. We lived and died by the iso-Joe offense, and in the playoffs we lived in the first round but died brutally in round 2.” –ATL Boy of RealGM
“Regular season he is solid. But is one of the worst postseason tacticians I’ve ever seen. He’ll get you to the playoffs every year, but he cannot (will not?) make the adjustments necessary to out strategize anyone.” – Jamaaliver of RealGM
Woodson and has an okay defensive strategy but a horrible offensive one:
“Glad he’s gone. Awful coach while he was in Atlanta. Zero offensive strategy, and terrible with playing time decisions and in-game adjustments.” –Shadowman_09 of Reddit
“Offense always left a lot to be desired but team defense always felt good. To be fair though, he was here as we got on track. So, I have a love-hate relationship with him. Glad to see him successful, Glad for what he did for the Hawks, glad he’s gone.” -_xaq of Reddit
Woodson doesn’t care about developing young players:
“He is too quick to pull a young player and habitually stays with a veteran for much,
much longer. The young player he sits until the player learns. If he doesn’t, too bad.
It’s not his fault.” –Graymule of RealGM
“If you are a young guy you better be able to provide the very specific role that he pigeonholes you into be it spacing the floor, defending, rebounding, never making a mistake, etc. or you can place your butt firmly on the bench. He wasn’t interested in developing well rounded prospects and allowed vets the leeway and minutes to figure out **** for themselves.” –MaceCase of RealGM
The bottom line on Woodson:
“Woody favors iso-based players over systems players even if the systems player is younger and more skilled than said iso-player so I can see why the favoritism for JR Smith. Iso players require zero coaching or offensive system in place so you set them loose and sit back and watch. Before Iso-Joe, we had Iso-Lue and Iso-Flip Murray and iso-Antoine Walker. He is completely a short-term coach who does only cares about regular season wins and will not bother developing depth or young players. In fact, he is the reason that we traded a 1st round pick and Jordan Crawford (who was actually a decent prospect at the time) for a broken-down Kirk Hinrich since he spent no effort developing Jeff Teague as a PG. It was not until Hinrich went down in the playoffs that he was forced to play Teague who then went on to average 20 points in the series against the Bulls which shows how big of a stubborn fool Woody had been. He will absolutely get outcoached in the playoffs by anyone with half a brain” –Grammer Nazi of RealGM
As you can see, these Hawk fans sound a hell of a lot like Knicks fans when airing their grievances against Woodson, and it’s telling that he doesn’t seem to be missed. It’s hard to disagree with those that know Woodson best, and those aren’t Knick fans, its Hawks fans since they had to deal with him over 600 games. As the statements suggest, Woodson seems to be a slightly above average regular season coach, but in the playoffs when it counts his lack of offensive imagination and refusal to make significant adjustments has always plagued him. We saw this last year against Indiana and the fact that he’s so desperate to have his favorite gunner in JR back also reveals a failure to devise any offensive strategy devoid of iso-[insert hired gun’s name here]
If Woodson gets fired there certainly is no shortage of options, including last year’s Coach of the Year, but mid-season coaching adjustments rarely are final. More likely to happen is Herb Williams finishing the year, or maybe even, gulp, Isiah Thomas. It’s impossible to gauge what is going on in Dolan’s head but he clearly is irked about the Knicks’ stumble out of the gate. With Tyson Chandler out for significant time and a difficult schedule ahead, I can’t imagine the Knicks fairing well over the rest of the month. The Knicks are in dangerous territory and one that Woodson may be ill-equipped to handle.
November 21st. What’s important about this date you ask? That’s the date I give Coach Woodson to change the tenor of the Knicks season. Yes, I know he’s gotten the most amount of Knick wins in record breaking fashion, but it doesn’t mean much to me. There are teams that perform well during the season, those that falter, and then there are teams that get to the Finals. Right now the Knicks don’t really seem to have any identity at all and that is something that Woodson should take responsibility for. Of course “his guy” JR Smith isn’t in the lineup and will certainly give the Knicks a boost, but how dire does it sound when JR Smith is considered a season savior?
The lineups have been rotating on a random shuffle and that’s part of the reason the team doesn’t have an identity. No one seems to know their role and despite this haze, Melo has been grinding out each game as if it was the middle of April. This isn’t a roster problem, it’s a coaching issue. With that said, I’m willing to give Woodson seven more games to figure it out. While I was never a big fan of Woodson, it’s unacceptable for the Knicks to continue to look lost out there, especially on their home court. And yes, James Dolan has a right to be upset. That’s not easy to admit, but there isn’t anything wrong with demanding success.
By November 21st we will see how the Knicks fare against a variety of different teams, some awful and some great. Most importantly on November 20th the Knicks will face the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year. The Pacers have obviously gotten better and beating them won’t be easy, but if they are unprepared for that game, I don’t see how Woodson can be allowed to stick around if the team still isn’t responding to him during this season’s most important statement games. #WoodsonWatch begins now folks. Stay tuned.
Obviously, Chris Smith was the answer he’s been looking for all these years. It’s all making sense now the Knicks kept him on the roster. There’s nothing wrong with demanding success, but its also healthy to temper expectations a bit more with reality. File this one under “That’s so Dolan”
Welcome home Ron!
By John Schmeelk
» More Columns
Over the course of the last two years, the Knicks have struggled to find consistent lineups, mostly because of injuries. With Amar’e Stoudemire finally officially out of the starting-lineup picture due to his minutes restriction and Andrea Bargnani apparently penciled in at power forward, the only remaining question is who will start at shooting guard.
It’s an unwritten rule for NBA blogs to log in their season predictions, if for no other reason than to provide laughter when looking back at them at the end of the year. So without further ado, here is what Zoltar told me instead of granting my wish to turn back into 12 year old.
Atlantic Division standings: BK-NY-TOR-BOS-PHI
Central Division standings: CHI-IND-CLE-DET-MIL
Southwest Division standings: MIA-ATL-CHA-WAS -ORL
Pacific Division standings: OKC-DEN-MIN-POR-UTH
Southwest Standings: LAC- GSW-LAL-SAC-PHO
Northwest Standings: SA-MEM-HOU-DAL-NOA
Regular Season MVP: LBJ
Scoring Leader: KD
Rookie of the Year: Victor Oladipo
Bust of the Year: Jeff Green
Most Improved Player: Gordon Hayword
6th Man of the Year: Iman Shumpert (His way of giving the middle finger to Mike Woodson)
Coach of the Year: Mark Jackson
West All Star Team (12 players)
East All Star team (12 players)
Surprise Team: Minnesota (It’s Finally Happening!)
Letdown Team: Knicks
Breakout player: Shumpert
Biggest player on the decline: Wade
1st coach fired: Mike Brown (A new meme is born)
A few big names that will be traded: Gay, Rondo, Pau Gasol, Amar’e, Shumpert.
First Round Prediction 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
1. MIA over ATL
2. CHI over DET
3. BK over CLE
4. IND over NY
1. OKC over MIN
2. SA over DEN
3. LAC over HOU
4. GSW over MEM
Second Round Prediction: 1 & 8 winner vs. 4 & 5, 2 & 7 vs. 3 & 6 winner
1. IND over MIA
2. CHI over BK
1. OKC over GSW
2. SA over LAC
Conference Finals Prediction
IND over CHI, OKC over SA
Finals Prediction: OKC over IND
Finals MVP: KD
Carmelo PPG: 26.3
Amar’e games played: 20
Knicks wins: 50
Andrea Bargnani PPG: 12.7
JR Smith PPG: 15.8
Tyson RPG: 9.7
Shumpert PPG: 14.1
Record against the Nets: (4 games) 2-2
Record against the Heat: (4 games) 2-2
Is this Mike Woodson’s last year? I wish
Will Carmelo resign? Dolan will hold him hostage so Melo has no choice in the matter.
Who will win the Wiggins lottery? Pelicans
Random ass signing of the year? Captain Jack comes back to Pacers
“Gut punch” Injury of the year? Steve Nash misses significant time
When does Kobe come back? Christmas Day. Book it.
Where does LeBron go? Cleveland
Shockers of the year? Stat forced to retire, Jordan flirts with becoming a player/coach, JR Smith sex tape scandal w/ one of the Basketball Wives crashes Twitter, and a handful of active NBA players come out, including one former All-Star.
Enjoy the season guys.
NY Daily News’ Frank Isola reports:
Woodson appears to be leaning toward starting Smith, which isn’t surprising since the head coach has shown that he prefers to Smith over Shumpert in the past. When asked why he would take Smith out of the role that resulted in him having his best season, Woodson said: “I think he’s past that. I wanted him to be past that sixth man.
After seeing how well Iman Shumpert played last night, I really find this inexplicable. Of course whether Shumpert can consistently play as well as he did last night remains to be seen. We still haven’t seen a season of full health from Shumpert so we can’t get too carried away with his phenomenal performance. Take a deep breath Knick fans because already, it seems like Coach Woodson’s bizzare affinity towards JR Smith continues to reveal itself. Of course its admirable to show that much loyalty in a player but Shumpert is no longer a rookie. He’s a player that can be on verge of a breakout season. His high level of play on both ends of the court is going to be desired around the league even more, so my real fear here is that Shumpert may grow frustrated with the investment the Knicks have shown in him and might start to feel a career on another team may be a better opportunity.