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Mike Woodson confident in his ability to coach any player, including Metta World Peace

Jul 14, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Woodson JR Smith AP

LAS VEGAS — Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is with the team in Las Vegas for Summer League, and with reports of mutual interest between New York and Metta World Peace now that he’s cleared amnesty waivers, Woodson was asked if he thought he might have a knack for coaching players with, shall we say, a more unique outlook on things.

Woodson was especially successful with a similarly quirky player in J.R. Smith, who had a monster year for the Knicks last season that resulted in him taking home Sixth Man of the Year honors. Woodson said it’s all about getting a player to know their place on the team in order for them to be successful.

“I know his name has been circling out there,” Woodson said of the World Peace-to-the-Knicks talk. “I can coach anybody. I’ve coached guys from 18, 19, 20 year old young men and built the team in Atlanta, and that’s tough for a first-time coach. So I experienced that. I don’t think there’s a player I can’t coach if he’s going to be willing to be coached. I think it’s just a matter of pushing the right buttons and getting guys to understand their roles.”

Woodson likes what World Peace is able to bring to a team, but reminded that it’s a little early in the process to be putting him in a Knicks uniform just yet.

“I like his skill set a lot,” Woodson said. “I think a lot of teams have liked his skill set over the years. He does a little bit of everything, but again, it’s a moot point until he’s available if that may be the case.”

Woodson would seem just fine with adding World Peace, or any player that could help his team for that matter — just as long as they share the same vision in achieving the ultimate goal that he does.

“If anybody comes to this team, they’ve got to understand it’s all about team, man,” he said. “It’s not about individuals here. It’s not about me as a coach, it’s about the New York franchise trying to win an NBA title. If you understand that, we’ve got a chance.”


Some additional Knicks notes from Woodson’s few minutes with the media:

– Woodson knows how good Carmelo Anthony was when playing the power forward position last season, but he’s at least willing to entertain the possibility of playing newly-acquired big man Andrea Bargnani alongside him in the lineup.

“They could [start together],” he said. “We’ll evaluate everything. It’ll really be a little bit different this year because I know we’ve been great with Melo at the four, but Bargnani — he brings a different dimension to our team, I think.

“I’ve got to get him up to speed defensively, but just like Melo’s a nightmare for people at the four, [Bargnani is] a nightmare for players at the four and five,” Woodson said. “I’ve just got to get him in and get him acclimated to what we’re doing, and get him comfortable — that’s the key with him. I’ve got to get him back to feeling good about himself. I think he’s an excellent ballplayer.”

Kenyon Martin played valuable minutes for the Knicks last season, and is currently an unrestricted free agent. But that doesn’t mean that New York has ruled out bringing him back for next season.

“Kenyon is still majorly in our picture,” Woodson said. “I like everything about what Kenyon did for our ball club last season, so we’re still in that evaluation stage, as well.”

– Woodson said he has been impressed with the play of both Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler with the Knicks’ Summer League squad, and wants to try to bring them both to training camp before next season.

  1. 00maltliquor - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I don’t like the tone of this article, young man. You’re acting like Ron World Peace is a problem or something. The young Artest yes. Not the World Peace version. Some reps will never fade, I guess.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      The left side of James Harden’s skull would disagree with that.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Cot dangit man, I knew someone was gonna bring up that insident! You were fast, too. Man…I ain’t even gonna get into all that that happend. Harden was woofing and got up on him and Metta wasn’t in the best of moods at the time and in a snap millisecond just reacted. Harden made him have flashbacks of playing on the streets of Queens. It was a accident!

  2. casualcommenter - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Metta World Peace would be a solid get for the Knicks.

    They’re not going to find a better player for the veteran’s minimum, and he could do well paired with Melo since he could guard the other team’s best forward, leaving Melo free to focus mainly on offense. Shumpert would guard the other team’s best guard, and Chandler would provide help and low-post defense.

    World Peace is also a credible 3-point shooter (though far from elite), so he won’t hurt the Knicks’ floor spacing on offense too much.

    That being said, he turns 34 this year, so he’s no longer reliable when asked to chase around guards, but he’s still a good matchup for most forwards.

    • atessono - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:10 AM

      Stephen Jackson. Nuff said. His defense is not too shabby and he’s a way better shooter than MWP of crap. No question the Knicks should pursue Stephen Jackson instead.

  3. daddyghi - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    F*** you, woodson. take the knicks to the finals first, or atleast to the ECF before talkin things like that.It’s a star studded team and you cant take them deep in to the playoffs. your all BS

    • anthonyverna - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      I don’t quite think anyone can coach Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert to be better than Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James. But that’s just an example.

  4. n3535e - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    yes coach the knicks to a second round exit. this team has mouth and no game. They are not a real contender…. maybe just silly ny fans thinkso history tells the truth

  5. 1509lucky - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I LOVE Metta,but he’s not the defender he used o be and with the 3.’s in the East. Getting more athletic,I don’t see him having that big an impact.

  6. snoopy2014 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Woodson: “…[Bargnani is] a nightmare for players at the four and five…”

    Bargnani is a nightmare for his own team, coach. You’ll see soon enough.

  7. rdav29 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Funky Cold Medina

  8. jimeejohnson - Jul 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Metta World War and Peace.

  9. captainwisdom8888 - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Ron Artest donning the name World Peace is like the devil himself asking you to call him Jesus. I will do no such thing…

    • davidly - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:59 AM

      What, you vouchin’ for Jesus?

  10. caeser12 - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Other than insane switches on D, give the ball to Melo, and let J.R. keep shooting, what does Mike “I haven’t got a clue” Woodson do? He makes no in-game adjustments, he has ZERO Offensive creativity, he waits too late to call timeouts, he leaves players that are producing on the bench while allowing his pet (J.R. Miss Me) to shoot and reload, he banished Copeland to the bench until he absolutely had to play him, he never taught Novak that he is allowed to shoot a 2 pointer, or go inside to the paint, he only likes “vets” because according to him “No team wins a Championship with young players.”

    And spare me the “They won more games than they have in decades.” So, the Clippers did too (fired their Coach), Nuggets (fired their Coach), and Coach Thibs played a squad that was literally a MASH Unit.

    Woodson is a Defensive Assistant Coach, playing Head Coach in NYC, he is a Coach in the mold of No D Antoni, a one dimensional Coach, who has no idea how to be innovative, creative, and bold.

    Helen Keller can see that.

    Go NY.

    *Disclaimer: Knicks fans since 1967. I know poor me, but I’m not switching.

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