COMMENTARY | As much as the blame game has been played this season, one thing that can't be overlooked is the decision making of coach Mike Woodson.
We've really seen it all, folks. From the resilience to stray away from what he knows for something new to the timeout debacle on Monday, Mike Woodson has a way of going against the obvious decision sometimes, and it's hurting his team.
For starters, let's commence with what is fresh in everyone's mind from Monday evening. Coach had three timeouts in his back pocket and didn't call one. Final result: Knicks lose. Cause and effect: Woodson decides to leave the game in his superstar's hands and prevent the defense from setting.
In theory, this is a decision that sometimes works. But when there is only 6 seconds left and you have the ball under the opponent's basket, it's just more logical to draw something up from halfcourt for an easy two-pointer. Especially when you are down only two at home. We then see Woodson's decision lost the game for the Knicks. Is there a lack of trust between coach and his role players?
Unless your name is Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani or J.R. Smith, good luck trying to get coach Woodson to diagram a play freeing you up for a shot. In fact, opposing teams realize this, too. Most of the time, their defense is going to see an isolation or a pick and roll. The Milwaukee Bucks were aware of this on Wednesday night and turned to a 2-3 zone defense to stall New York's offense, and it worked. Anthony saw multiple double teams out of the zone, which forced him to pass it to his teammates who clunked a great deal of open shots.
If the Knicks didn't have other players talented enough to run plays for, I would understand Woodson's concepts. However, this is the National Basketball League and everyone is a professional.
Iman Shumpert -- who is completely utilized improperly -- has enough athleticism and offensive talent to be ran off screens and such to hit shots. Since that hasn't happened often enough this year, Shump's confidence is riding on empty and any offense that comes his way is an open shot or a put-back. The third-year player hasn't scored more than 10 points in nine straight games.
Why not run some plays for the younger players to get them going? Just another sign of bad decision making we've seen this year. To go along with hurting the team, it is also stunting the growth of the few young players New York has.
Along with the player management, player rotations have been the exact opposite of competent. Finding something that works and sticking to it is usually the way to go. If you're in New York, however, it's more like finding something that works then quickly terminating it, noting it, and trying something else. If statistics prove anything -- I'm not a stat geek -- they work wonders on lineups. Seeing some of the defensive ratings of five-man lineups Woodson uses are sickening, yet they are continued to be trotted out. One example I will give is the five-man unit of Pablo Prigioni, Smith, Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Bargnani.
This is a troublesome group on defense just by the way it looks on paper to the average Knicks fan. Yet, this group has the fourth-most minutes among any lineup used by Woodson, according to NBA.com/stats. Their defensive rating -- a rating compiled by points given up per 100 possessions -- is 137. That's the highest out of any lineup that has played more than 20 minutes together. Still, the Knicks and Woodson continue to use this lineup. Base this off of Woodson's decision making? I would like to believe so.
The team isn't benefiting from a stubborn coach. You can't knock his loyalty to his players, but something has to change very soon.
Steve has experienced all the possible feelings of an overwhelmed fan rooting for the Knicks. He has been a Knicks follower since 1999. You can follow Steve on Twitter @Steve_Scafidi.
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