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Amar’e Stoudemire: Knicks didn’t always buy into Mike Woodson’s coaching

Apr 17, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards Getty Images

Last year, Mike Woodson finished third – and ahead of Gregg Popovich! – in Coach of the Year voting.

This year, Woodson is probably getting fired.

Did Woodson become a worse coach? Doubtful, though it’s quite possible his ability relative to the rest of the league has slipped. First-year coaches Jeff Hornacek and Steve Clifford, to name a couple, are excellent. (Though outgoing coaches like George Karl and Lionel Hollins weren’t too shabby themselves.)

More likely, Woodson’s fall has more to do with how he reached his players. Personalities evolve, and how they fit together within a team can change drastically. Trust is not permanent.

Amar’e Stoudemire, via Ohm Youngmisuk of

“I mean, again, certain strategies were placed upon us with Coach Woodson. There were times when we didn’t quite buy into it and as a result of that, we lost games.”

This might seal Woodson’s fate with the Knicks – though I’d guess every other sign pointing that direction already makes his departure a done deal – but it could help him land a head-coaching position elsewhere.

Yes, part of Woodson’s job is to convince his players to follow a unified strategy, but maybe that was just too difficult with this mercurial group. Perhaps, Woodson’s tactics could again be effective in a new environment.

Coaching is so difficult to assess, because much of the heavy lifting occurs behind the scenes, and it’s difficult to separate what players do for themselves and what coaches do for them.

But if I were Woodson, that – the Knicks not buying in – is the story I’d be selling potential employers.

  1. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    I dislike Woodson just as much as the next Knicks fan. However I think Amare should keep his mouth shut. Homeboy you played great offense the past two months of the season. During that time we could still make a top ten worst defensive plays and you could probably own 7/10. The guy sucks everyone knows it. Don’t kick a man when he is down especially when you know what it is like to be on the ground yourself.

  2. antistratfordian - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Capitán Obvio. Woodson should stick to hosting Family Feud.

    • cruzan80 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Lol….good one sir.

  3. icanhazblogs - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I’m not even sure how you can assess whether Woodson is still a capable coach based on this year. The pieces on that roster fit together so poorly it’s doubtful Popovich could have done anything with that team. I’m not a Knicks hater, but I wouldn’t wish their current situation on anyone.

    A lot of that has to be attributable to Dolan, who I think is one of the worst owners around. Hopefully Phil can keep him out of any decision that remotely has to do with basketball and right the ship. The league is better when the Knicks are competitive.

  4. cruzan80 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I know I’m alone on this one but I’m sticking with it….I don’t think Woodson should be fired. If I start listing the reasons why the Knicks sucked this year, Its gonna be a while before I get to coaching being one of them.

    Changing the entire teams identity by trading for Bargnani, Smith’s suspension & injury recovery, Chandler missing 30 games due to injury, Amare’s strict minute restriction, Felton being the worst PG in the league….these things are not the fault of the coach.

    No coach could’ve taken this team into the playoffs…well maybe Thibs…but that’s it. This is a classic scapegoat situation going down here. He’s already proven that he can coach. His Atlanta Hawk teams got better every year with basically the same roster & these Knicks did win 54 games just a year ago being led by this man. Now all of a sudden Knick fans want his head on a stick??? If Phil is as smart as everyone says he is…he’ll keep Woodson & hire an “offensive coach” as an assistant to Woody.

    33-49 (2005-2006)
    24-58 (2006-2007)

    Wanna know who’s the coach that owns those dubious records??? The “great” Doc Rivers…two years before Kevin Garnet & Ray Allen got to town. Shout out to Danny Ainge.

  5. cantonbound13 - Apr 17, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    He should have been fired after the playoff series against the Pacers. Vogel out coached him so much it was embarrassing.

  6. tomtravis76 - Apr 17, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Ridiculous expiring contract available in NY…”interesting trades considered”.

  7. turnmymicup - Apr 17, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Its so common to blame the coach nowadays. Personally I see a bunch of selfish gimmie the ball players. Can’t blame Woodson for the personnel he has to use. The bad play calling, sure fire the shots. Front office most likely will fire him but they need to get rid of a few of these players as well.

    • yanivvinay - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Very true, but the man insisted on starting bargnani. That’s a personnel decision I have a hard time with.

      • 5pecialk - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        True, but having Bargnani as a choice in the first place, was on the front office. Worst move of the off-season.

  8. rrhoe - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Amar’e Stoudemire’s words mean absolutely nothing to me,he hasn’t lived up to his contract by no means,not that I blame him for signing it but come on dude. Now he’s gonna’ pass the blame to someone else,he’s rich because the Knicks were dumb enough to sign him(and no insurance company would cover it).

  9. campcouch - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Why would a grown man who is making an excellent living, need to buy in to his coach’s plan? Why not just do what he wants? And he openly says that they failed to execute what was instructed. I don’t love my supervisor,but he’s the guy in charge and he gives us the details to complete our jobs. If I don’t do it,I lose my job or someone else may have issues because of my failure, So if they don’t buy into the next coach,will he get canned until they find one that does? He basically just admitted to failing at his job and getting someone fired because of his laziness.

    • adamsjohn714 - Apr 18, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      Yeah, but at most jobs the supervisor knows more about the job and makes more money. Also, most big wigs aren’t as clueless as the Knicks’ owner.

  10. jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Leave everything to the Zen Master: look for the Knicks to come back strong next year.

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