On numerous occasions this season Mike Woodson has stated he doesn’t worry about being fired even though the Knicks have been mired in last place most of the season, but his recent handling of JR Smith is a clear indication he clearly does.
For the first time since being named head coach in place of Mike D’Antoni, Woodson has demonstrated that Smith’s minutes would be based off production, especially with his “favorite” player currently shooting 18% over his last five games for a measly 5.6ppg average.
Clearly this new development hasn’t been received well by Smith evident by the reported confrontation he and Coach Woodson had which resulted in a rebellious performance by Smith, where he purposely only attempted one shot against the hated Celtics, a game in which his scoring could’ve made the difference.
But unlike last season when the Knicks prospered all season after an 18-5 start, Woodson doesn’t have the luxury of patience, but he does have a suitable replacement in rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. who has shot a very respectable 46% from the field while providing great defensive effort and a willingness to get others involved.
This shift in philosophy was again evident in a win against the Atlanta Hawks where Woodson decided to bench a struggling and lost Smith in favor of Hardaway who continued to impress with each opportunity totaling 13 points off the bench.
Although JR Smith wouldn’t agree at this time, competition for minutes is always a positive for any team, and could be just what the Knicks need to climb back to the 500 mark.
Right now Woodson is coaching for his life and from the looks of things, the best man will play, something Knicks fans have been salivating for. If I was Torre Murry I would remain ready because our once predictable coach is becoming more and more unpredictable each game.