The Knicks lost to the Bucks earlier this week, a team that also happens to have the worst record in the NBA. So when Steve Popper of the Bergen Record reported that a source says Knicks coach Mike Woodson might not be long for New York, we thought about possible replacements. Then we saw the profile by Yahoo’s Marc J. Spears on Patrick Ewing‘s decade plus post-retirement career where he’s been an assistant coach for some of the best basketball minds in the league, and everything clicked into place. Patrick Ewing should be the new coach of the Knicks.
Here’s the damaging part for Woodson in Popper’s piece:
And what they had to say wasn’t exactly reassuring â€” Woodson’s words not encouraging for the team’s fading chances and in particular, the usually positive [Amare’e] Stoudemire‘s words not encouraging for Woodson, whom one league source said could be removed before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Stoudemire joined what has been a chorus of players with little to say that sounds as if it is backing Woodson. With bad losses mounting and the season running down, earlier assurances from Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan that no changes were going to be made may be as hollow as Woodson’s insistence that the Knicks still can be a power in the Eastern Conference.
Most Knicks fans know what’s happening here. After seemingly innocuous comments from players that â€” upon closer examination â€” smack of a veiled anti-Woodson theme, the dam appears close to breaking. Whether Woodson can win enough to make some noise in the playoffs, remains to be seen. But that’s what it’ll probably take to stick around after this season, and even that might not be enough depending on what happens in free agency this summer.
Following their rock n’ rolla owner predicting title contention this summer, the Knicks are 19-29 through the season’s first half. Woodson appears pre-destined for unemployment soon, and if he’s gone then we might have an answer for the next faux-overseer of the Knicks fiefdom (and yes, Dolan is the real Lord, sigh).
Patrick Ewing has been an assistant coach for 10 years after retiring in 2002. But he has yet to catch on as anything more than an associate head coach, which is his current job title with the over-achieving Bobcats this season.
Wouldn’t Patrick be a great choice as Knicks coach â€” and not just for the nostalgia? It’s not as crazy as it might first sound.
Here’s Spears’ cliffs notes version of the coaching carousel Ewing has ridden while his No. 33 hit MSG’s rafters and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame:
Ewing has been an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats over the course of 10 seasons. He has worked with the likes of Yao Ming, Dwight Howard and now Al Jefferson. The former New York Knicks center and top pick in the 1985 NBA draft currently is a first-year Bobcats associate head coach under head coach Steve Clifford. The Knicks’ all-time leader in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals also has played for notable coaches such as Pat Riley, Rick Pitino, John Thompson, Hubie Brown, Don Nelson, Jeff Van Gundy, Doc Rivers and Nate McMillan.
Just by process of osmosis, Ewing must have picked up a lot during his playing career and on his assistant coaching journey. But he’s still not been hired for the top spot. Spears’ piece points to the league’s love for the perimeter guys as the culprit. Or, as is the case for All-Star starters, centers are totally obsolete not just in the minds of fans, but in the minds of NBA executives.
Ewing’s current mini-project in Charlotte, Al Jefferson â€” who has been playing out of his mind recently â€” offers up his own recommendation for Ewing to take the top job:
Jefferson said Ewing has made him a better player with the Bobcats by emphasizing defense and he is impressed by his presence and humility.
“Sometimes you kind of forget you’re walking around with a Hall of Famer, especially in New York,” Jefferson said. “People there still love him and go crazy over him. Just talking to him you wouldn’t know he was a Hall of Famer. You’d think he’s just a regular guy. He would be a great head coach.”
Not only that, but Ewing doesn’t use the article as an opportunity to blast those players-turned-coaches â€” all guards, obviously â€” who got head coaching gigs a lot sooner than the Hoya Destroya.
“Mark [Jackson] has always shown he knew the game. He’s a very good coach,” said Ewing, who played with Jackson in New York. “[Jason Kidd] got an opportunity to coach and he’s shown he can be a very good coach. All it takes is someone to believe in you. One day I’ll have the opportunity.”
If Woodson gets dropped, lets give Patrick an opportunity, New York. The Knicks have already (maybe) insulted Ewing a tad by offering him the head coaching spot for New York’s D-League affiliate in Erie. But we can make it up to him, while celebrating his 15-year Hall-of-Fame career in New York by letting Patrick try and right the sinking ship that is the 2013-14 Knicks.
Baring that, maybe John Starks and Anthony Mason could suit up?
Do you think Patrick Ewing could coach the Knicks?
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