My Concerns with Coach Woodson. Are you Mike Woodson, or Mike D'Antoni?
I love the job coach has done but I have a few concerns.
Woodson is a defensive coach but we have seen much "Slipage" and no one knows why. Here are my observations-
There are only 3.5 true defensive oriented players on our squad: TC, Shump, Brewer, and Sheed (him being the .5)
Of those players only TC is a regular. Shump is just returning, Bewer's minutes have been reduced, and Sheed can't stay healthy. There is more concern when an injury occures with little to no contact that directly relates... see overuse injuries.
TC cannot hold down the D on his own and needs a valid perimeter defender and a formidable PF along side. STAT is our best hope at this and there are only 2 perimeter defenders... do the math.
I hated the unwavering / stubborness of our former coach, and I see the same here. Case(s) in point-
Brewer was removed as a starter due to going into a slump ala so many under MDA. Instead of working with him, perhaps drawing him up some plays... he was held to the uber shooting 3 point standard that gassed so many seemingly including coach. Mistake.
Kidd started out as a 2, yet cannot guard his position. We are healthy... Kidd is a back-up. I thought coach valued Defense?
Smith was not allowed to be a starting 2 under no circumstances. (Thats both stubborn and demoralizing) Perhaps he could have helped with the scoring when Melo was cold?
I believed this all happened because coach had his heart set on a plan or vision being at least 1 perimeter defender on the floor. I guess coach figured remove Brewer insert Shump- Yet coach didn't remove Kidd thus playing a 3 guard alignment with Felton, Kidd, and Shump. This kept Melo at the 4 out of position (see MDA).
Instead of (one of) Brewer, Shump, or Smith rotating at the 2 we sacrifice size at the 4. That is a mistake. If coach noticed Shump was not fully back then, he had plenty of options including Kidd at the 2 but he soured on Brewer just like our former coach use to do. Its simple you could help re-develop a players confidence, or lose him forever.
Our 2 must get us points but that would be less important if we used a conventional lineup. That means players at their natural positions. Then we would learn that the 2nd scorng option is STAT (NOT off the bench).
I get what coach tried to do; have waves of offense coming at an opponent. In theory that was a good plan but not in practice. The (big) 3 positions SF, PF, and C are locked down. There should be no shuffling unless absolutely necessary, leaving 2 positions to decide.
Coach has envisioned Felton as our starting PG but hasn't allowed anyone to challenge him if only to give him an incentive to improve his game. (Former coach use to do this too)
Felton as much as a catalyst, is a defensive liability that we cannot make up for, thus as coach thought, there is a need to have at least one of Brewer or Shump on the floor with Felton at all times. But since he is promoting offense so much Shump nor Brewer fit the Bill offensively... but defensively? What is the priority?
I mentioned this before and I'll say it again... what is our identity? I thought coach wanted us to be a defensive team but then there is the 3 guard alignment I mentioned above (that leaves us undersized and lacking perimeter d) and the subsequent moving players out of position, leaving Stat on the bench, that affects our d. So what is it?
Honestly I see MDA all in coach now and I'm worried. The sacrificing of defense for offense. The reluctantance to change and try new things that perpetuate his philosophy (I thought was defense).
Felton cannot lock down any G.
Kidd cannot lock down any G.
Smith has improved but is offensive minded.
Novak may as well stay on one side of the court.
Yet these players get the most minutes! They do so because of offense just like our former coach... mistake.
And they have contributed to our league leading 3 pointers taken (and made).
Remember what I said about our former coach? About taking too many 3's and the false positives they perpetuate, not to mention the unintended consequences? Well it's here again and I expect a defensive coach to take heed.
But coach isn't doing this and I'm perplexed. Has he been conditioned?
So in conclusion it's time to scrap some things and get back to basics.
1- If Camby or Sheed cannot play NOW, make a move for some size, rebounding, and defense. Period.
2- If Felton cannot guard the 1, start grooming someone who can.
3- Rule # 1: I you can't guard YOUR MAN, we don't need you for 99% of the time.. have a seat Novak et al.
4- STOP switching on D. If you try to reinvent the wheel and you come up with something round that rolls... you are wasting everyones time. Stop! Find a man playing the same position and guard him. No more switching and parsing players off. Get the basics of man defense down FIRST, then worry about advanced techniques.
5- Understand the fundamental errors you keep making:
A) start and play your best players- this helps them gel, become familiar, forge an identity and gives them something to fall back on during times of adversity. Stop marginalizing players contributions.
B) at their natural positions- If I see my young Star Shump guarding and playing 3 for no good reason... I'm going to kill someone!
C) defense is the priority- stop worrying about scoring and Novak. We are a defensive team... cater to the defesive players and show the team that defense is the priority... act like it!
6- Felton, Kidd, and Melo @ the 4 = defensive liabilities. Remove Kidd, insert one of Brewer or Shump. Play Stat at the 4 with TC for help and work on the bench AFTER THE STARTERS ARE SET. Don't try to balance both lineups.
You have 32 games if you choose to accept this mission.
*This message will self destruct in 5 seconds... 4... 3..