With the New York Knicks in the verge of not making it into the Playoffs this season, and certainly, far away from been the dominant team that many believed them to be with the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and the unexpected appearance of Jeremy Lin, Mike D’ Antoni has decided that it is time to step down. At 19-24 for the season, and after dropping 6 straight games it certainly seemed like the Knicks needed yet another big change in order to turn this season around. After the announcement was made, assistant coach Mike Woodson will come in as the interim head coach. He was in charge of leading the New York Knicks into their first week in the last 7 games against the Portland Trail Blazzers at the Madison Square Garden.
Jim Dolan, the Knicks owner, came out to say that after an extensive discussion with D’Antoni, both parts came to a mutual understanding and that it was the coach himself who opted to leave the squad. “He clearly felt it was best for the organization if he were not to continue as coach of the team. He did offer to stay (…) After a long discussion, we did agree it was best for the organization to have new voice moving forward.”
And it seems that at least for now Woodson has been able to turn things around. At least a bit. It’s hard to say what this means on the long run, but the Knicks seem to have finally figured out the offensive system once D’Antoni is already out of the building. Perhaps that explains how the Knickerbockers took a 121-79 win over the Portland Trail Blazers last night, with brilliant performances from Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony for the team’s highest point total of the season. The thing was that the Knickers had dropped to tie in 8th place in the Easter Conference before D’Antoni stepped down. On the one hand, we have to say that the Portland Trail Blazers were something of an easy pray. The Blazers haven’t been able to get their game back. They certainly showed no energy after its 92-75 loss in Indiana on Tuesday, and considering that they were playing without their starting guard Jamal Crawford, it was just a bit easier for the Knicks to rout Portland the way they did.
Perhaps what really pushed D’Antoni’s departure from the team was his relationship with Carmelo Anthony. Many rumors had come out earlier this year about the two not getting along. On the other hand it is no secret that when Melo missed 10 games because of a groin injury, and when the undrafted player from Harvard, Jeremy Lin, was in charge of leading the offensive, the Knicks underwent some sort of revival. But when Carmelo came back, it looked as if the new system, with Lin at the helm, was somehow not compatible with Anthony’s game and the team dropped 8 of the 10 games the two (Lin and Melo) played together.
Earlier this year, the coach that had signed a $24 million 4-year contract, had said that the Knicks were a team that had the potential to win the championship. “If you have a center (Tyson Chandler) from the defending champions on your team that’s 28 years old and is playing the best basketball he’s ever played and you’ve got two superstars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, obviously you’ve got to compete for a championship…” Well, he was quite off this time around. Let’s wait and see what Woodson can bring to the table.