If there is a 2011-2012 season, it seems like the addition of Mike Woodson to the Knicks’ bench in the role of
assistant to the regional manager defensive assistant is all but assured. Many D’Antoni bashers will now expect to be sated with stifling defense to compliment the team’s fast paced offense.
But is that a fair expectation?
In my opinion what is more likely to happen is that the team’s expectations will now be raised on the defensive end, the team will, in large part, fail to meet those expectations, and D’Antoni will receive the blame, not Woodson, since D’Antoni is still steering the ship.
It’s not that I think Woodson won’t help matters on the defensive end. He’s likely to be better than Herb. But in watching the Hawks over the years, I never felt as if I was watching some dominant defensive squad.
Indeed, despite having some talented defensive players over the years (Horford, Smith, Childress, Johnson, Pachulia), the Hawks under Woodson were, uh, not good with respect to defensive efficiency [per Basketball Reference]:
2006-2007: 23rd (!!)
2005-2006: 25th (!!!)
2004-2005: 30th (!!!!)
So the Mike Woodson hiring, while sure to increase expectations on the Knicks’ defensively, may have a negligible impact on that front, and I somehow doubt Woodson would get the blame.
In my opinion Woodson may be more attractive to certain factions at the Garden for the way he coaches offense, e.g., give the ball to Joe Johnson and let him do things one-on-one. I know a certain former Nugget who likes to play that way.