Knicks’ New Commitment Under Woodson Merely Temporary

Here's what you have to realize if you are a New York Knicks fan. Your team plays hard only when it wants to - and not on a game-in, game-out basis.

That should offend all Knicks fans. Whether Mike D'Antoni was a great coach or a poor one, the Knicks owed it to themselves and the paying customers to play with effort every night.

It's easy to see that they were not giving it their all under D'Antoni because of how well they have played under interim coach Mike Woodson. They have won their first three games under Woodson and the difference seems to be that all players are now committed defensively to the gameplan. Defense is about effort and it was missing in the last month under D'Antoni.

Jeremy Lin, the one-time Linternational hero who created a frenzy in February when the team appeared to be committed to playing 48 minutes every night, explained what was happening under Woodson. "On offense, we have a little more post-ups, not a lot more," Lin told the New York Daily News. "The defense hasn't changed. We have all 15 guys buying in now. That's the big difference."

Buying in. The question is for how long. They are committed right now. They weren't when Mike D'Antoni was head coach. They were committed when Lin was going through his coming-out party, but they weren't exactly tearing it up before then.

What the players like right now is that Woodson is giving them simple and direct coach instructions. The first thing they have been told to do is go hard to the glass, especially the defensive glass. Then they are told to play defense and put pressure on the ball. Finally, they must guard the screen and roll.

D'Antoni may not have used the same kind of direct language that Woodson has used, but he told them the same thing. The Knicks players just didn't like his tone or attitude.

So how long does it last during the Woodson regime? Another week? Ten days? It will end sooner or later because this team has its own agenda. And the Knicks defensive "commitment" does not have the feel of permanence.

Of course, the Knicks players have all heard the rumors. That next year, a big name could be coming out of retirement to coach them. A big name who once wore Knicks uniform and coach Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Phil Jackson may want to end his coaching career on the Knicks sidelines. It's just a rumor at this time. But if Jackson came to the Knicks, he would understand how to get his message across to his players.


New York Daily News - NY Knicks putting out effort under interim coach Mike Woodson that was missing under former coach Mike D'Antoni

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Updated Sunday, Mar 18, 2012