He has had Carmelo Anthony on his side, and these days, that counts for a lot in New York. Thatís the best way to explain how Knicks coach Mike Woodson has managed to keep his job.
By most accounts, Woodson should have been a goner long ago. The Knicks are 21-40, 6.5 games out of a playoff spot and needing to jump ahead of three teams, including two (Atlanta and Detroit) that hold a tiebreaker edge. New York closes with 12 of 21 on the road, and even if the Knicks somehow managed to go 14-7 to finish the year, the Hawks would need to go 8-16 to give the Knicks a playoff shot.
In other words, Woodson has led what was expected to be a contender in the East out of a playoff spot altogether.
Which begs the question: How the heck did he manage to stay on this long? For that answer, you have to go back two years, when Knick-dom was still in the waning throes of the Jeremy Lin phenomenon. Anthony, youíll remember, had been injured for much of that oh-so-brief Linsanity phase, and when he returned the oil-and-water nature of Linís game vs. Anthonyís game became apparent. Lin needed the ball in his hands. Anthony needed it in his.
When the Knicks ran a losing streak to six games in mid-March that year, coach Mike DíAntoni (Linís main benefactor) paid the price and left the job by mutual agreement. Woodson took over and returned the reins to Anthony, tossing a bucket of cold water on what Lin had done the previous month.
Lin injured his knee shortly thereafter, but you can bet Woodsonís approach registered with Anthonyóin what came down to a Lin vs. Anthony choice, the coach had his starís back.
This year can be seen as Anthony returning the favor.