With some notable names coming to the top of the list for Leon Rose and his Knicks, lets see who makes the most sense to be the main playcaller for the 2020-21 season.
Just as a quick note of housekeeping, there has been news that Mike Miller will, at minimum, be an assistant on the team's bench for the foreseeable future, I am not going to include him in the argument for Head Coach (more than likely because what ever coach Rose hires could be fired by mid season 2 anyway and we'll see Miller on the sidelines again.). Instead I would like to include Mike Woodson who is the last coach to have any success getting the Knicks to the playoffs, and a 54 win season which was #1 in the Atlantic Division.
To be completely transparent, there is no way I am going to advocate for Mark Jackson to coach this team. If he was as great of a coach as some of you think he is or was, he would have a job... or at least been considered for other teams since he left Golden State.
I know that he helped construct that team and should get credit for at least the first ring they won BUT the proof is in the pudding. Nobody wants to touch him, why should we?
Thibodeau is hard nosed, no nonsense coach who simply put, wants your sweat. He is going to work you and work you hard. It is unclear how this type of leadership will be tolderated in the Knicks locker room with such young players and very little veteran leadership (except for Taj Gibson who played under Thibs in Chicago... and Minnesota). You hope that the kids appreciate wanting to put in the hard work to be winner but given the mutiny in Minnesota, it's hard to assume different in New York.
Where I am higher on Thibs than Jackson, I havea hard time believing either is right but for now, Thibs is moving on in this head to head matchup.
Kenny Atkinson vs. Mike Woodson
This is slightly less of an open and shut case for who should move on.
Mike Woodson is an easy choice for this role. Since leaving the Knicks, Woody was in LA with the Clippers and Doc River until May of 2018 when he resigned. Woodson had success prior to that as well as the Head Coach in Atlanta improving their record every year and making the playoffs in his last three seasons there. The Knick team he coached that won 54 games had quite the rag-tag group of names, see below:
Granted, there is a TON of veteran leadership on this team and Pablo Prigioni but this is still a lineup that was past it's collective prime. Imagine what Woody can do with youth!
Speaking of youth... Kenny Atkinson is exactly that, the basketball equivalent of Money-Ball. Very analytical and very keyed into creating a situation where he can stagger minutes so there is an effective scorer on the floor at all time, after all, look what he did with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. I see him using Kenny Wooten and Mitchell Robinson the same way on the defensive end of the floor and as soon as RJ gets some offensive help, he will likely do the same on that end as well.
With all that being said, I think I would lean slightly by a razor thin margin toward Kenny Atkinson and the way that basketball is currently trending rather than (albeit) a proven coach who knows the organization and how to improve teams over the years.
Keep your opinions coming and let me know your thoughts on social:
Next up will be Thibs vs Atkinson, Stay Tuned!