Woodson Ready For Challenges In NYC


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This is just about the time Knicks fans will recognize the true benefits of having a no-nonsense coach like Mike Woodson running the show as opposed to someone who is, shall we say more concerned with the politics of coaching.

After six often tumultuous seasons leading the Atlanta Hawks, Woodson earned an advanced degree in drama (owner, front office and player related). And it’s one of the reasons why J.R. Smith being upset about not being named a starter won’t so much as register a blip on Woodson’s radar, not when he knows there are so many other obstacles standing in the way of the Knicks and their goal of being a contender in the Eastern Conference.

Woodson’s response, courtesy of Al Iannazzone of Newsday, to the stir Smith’s reaction caused was classic “Woody,” especially to those who know how he operates:

“Two things this team has got to think about: team and win,” Woodson said before the Knicks ‘ 108-101 win in their preseason opener against the Wizards. “Other than that, I’ll manage everything else. You just have to think about team and winning games. No matter who plays — team and winning games.”
The Knicks already are the oldest team in NBA history and have several key players banged up, including Amar’e Stoudemire, who missed Thursday night’s game with a left knee bruise suffered in practice Wednesday. Age and injuries are two things that could derail the Knicks’ hopes for a deep playoff run. Another is team harmony.

Smith, who scored 20 points Thursday night, said Wednesday that “disappointed would be an understatement” when he learned that Woodson wants him to come off the bench again. He had geared himself up to be a starter. He ultimately said he will do whatever Woodson wants, but he clearly was upset. “I’m not going to get into that,” Woodson said. “The bottom line is J.R. and I are on the same page.”

Woodson could have his work cut out for him in terms of trying to keep his players happy. When Ronnie Brewer , Iman Shumpert and Marcus Camby return from injuries and Rasheed Wallace works himself into shape, the Knicks are going to have a deep team filled with veterans who have started, been All-Stars and closed games. For example, Jason Kidd — who said he’s fine with backing up Raymond Felton but expects to finish games — will have a different role.

So managing egos and getting everyone to buy in to his role will be a major part of Woodson’s job in his first full season as Knicks coach. “I’m in it for one thing, and that’s to win,” he said. “We’ve got to leave the egos at the door. I think our group of guys will do that. We’ve got a nice group of guys that I like. The only way you’re going to win in this league, you’ve got to manage the ballclub, make sure guys are on the same page with the coach and I’m on the same page with these players. And I think we are.”

Leaving the egos at the door in New York?

Seeing how that plays out is worth the price of admission alone with the Knicks. Not only are there internal expectations for this group, but there is also that pesky little problem in Brooklyn that will bring added external pressure.

With the Brooklyn Nets competing for headlines and fan attention in ways that they never have before, the Knicks will have to be more conscious than ever about making sure their own house is in order.

And that’s one reason why we believed it when they made the move to go with Woodson for the top job. He was and remains the perfect man for this job. Few coaches in the league could handle the headaches that are sure to come and maintain their composure, emotions and sanity.

Woodson has been through the grinder before, albeit in a much different environment. And he has as firm a grip as anyone could have on how to handle situations like the one that has cropped up with Smith and the others that are sure to come this season.


  1. c.anthony says:

    I don’t agree with all this “ego” talk about JR.. Seems like a pretty quiet and shy dude, just a little wacky that’s all. In terms of his talent and seniority, he should be a starter ahead of Shumpert or Brewer. However, Woodson is right in knowing that it is better to keep him coming off the bench to be the “star” of the second unit. Woodson won’t put up with much from anyone, so I think JR’s comments are completely overhyped in this article, in terms of causing all sorts of team chemistry issues. I don’t see anyone causing much team chemistry issues on this team when Woodson is in charge. This isn’t the D’antoni brother’s freak show anymore.

  2. Lady J says:

    Coach Woodson is a dynamic coach I believe the players really need to do their parts. Jason Kidd is a 19 year old verterian of the NBA if everybody work it could happen. As for JR. not a fan yet.

  3. Karlo Garcia says:

    Don’t like JR Smith. 2 much distraction.

  4. Ishiphopdead says:

    Why J.R would be mad smh didn’t last season they wanted to start him and he said I rather come if the bench he don’t know what he knows no matter what he going to finish the game he better get he’s defense up cause Iman come back it a wrap lol he should just relax and do what he do wither he start or not he still going to be effective he just have to know that

  5. Dingis says:

    Wow why is the blogger making it such a big deal, its not even like J.R. came out and was talking all this smack, he was just upset, this shouldn’t be on the front page of the nba site. This blog creates more drama than J.R. even is.

  6. HKahlon says:

    all great points. It is true, JR Smith is a decent player, and the only thing holding him back is really his ego. I agree with you guys, if he can accept his role, he can become a solid sixth man, maybe, and I mean MAYBE, he can be as effective as guys like James Harden or Manu GInobili off of the bench

  7. smiley says:

    JR is a trouble but I sure would love seeing him on the Bulls! But Thib’s is very loyal and plays his vets like RIP and Boozer….2 years ago Bogans was the starting SG!

  8. CP says:

    huge woodson fan eh, mr sekou smith?

  9. david says:

    he was working hard against the wizards i would like him to be our 6th man off the bench and iman being our starter JR needs to understand he will help us alot more off the bench

  10. rakim says:

    i think J.R smith can be a very good player doesnt matter a starter or he come from bench … but all he need is a lil bit of understanding and some confidnce rom team mates and coach …. its not good thing to lable a guy for life as a rebel … men lie women lie numbers dont lie …

  11. Lee says:

    JR aint worth the head ache, ask denver and china. Way too full of himself to put the team first. Maybe being humbled and sat on the bench will help, but I bet he pushes for a trade if hes there too long.

  12. dd def says:

    i would love to see a good healthy rivalry spark up between new york and brooklyn. and i hope new york has a better season this year, cause i was eager to see what they’d do last year and that wasn’t a fair showing with all the injuries and an all around screwy season for everyone. the nets also have a good look going into the season, so it kinda gets my blood bubbling with anticipatory excitement.

  13. Dan'o says:

    JR is an inconsistent player who shows glimpses of athletic greatness, emotional and intellectual deficit, and all the ego of a superstar. He is poison in the locker room. Was happy to see him depart from Denver

    • Gameon says:

      Dan you and I are best friends!! Jr smith is toxic to any team, I was so happy when he left the Nuggets we finally have the team we need to be great with a sense of “teamness” (lol George Karl’s word). We got rid of JR, Kenyon and Carmelo all within one season as a Nuggets die hard fan I couldn’t be happier right now. JR has so many delusions of grandeur but all I keep seeing is a complete degenerate.

      BTW ………GO NUGGETS!!!!!!

    • Krishawn-MIA says:

      agreed he’s not much of a team player more of a highlight reel night in and night out…Highlights doesnt win ships

  14. dattebayo says:

    I still can’t get that first playoff huddle in Miami out of my mind. The game had not yet started and the players were getting ready and the coach said his final words before the Game: “…it is a process to win an NBA Title…”.
    Then the Heat blew them out in 3 out of 5 games and send the Knicks home. You are a 7th seed going against a heavy favorite for the title whilst fighting injuries and in your first huddle in the post season your first words are about winning the title. How delusional can you be as the head coach of the Knicks? I hope they do better this year and I think they really will this time, but that playoff huddle sure was funny…

    • - says:

      Funny that you actually didn’t understand the coach at all. Winning a title is what thrives most of these guys. Losing in 5 blew their changes obviously last play-offs. But, they still are in the ‘procces’ Woodsen refered to. They might not be their yet, and they definately weren’t their last year. But they learned from it and i believe that their ‘procces’ has just begon. Looking forward to see them playing in the play-offs this year!

      • Celt21 says:

        What’s funny is that we can understand you. Winning is what thives…? blew their changes? procces? Woodsen? Definately? Has just begon?