Once everyone who works for Jim Dolan comes back from vacation, probably next week, the Knicks are going to announce the hiring of Mike Woodson as a sort of defensive coordinator, brought in to make sure Mike D'Antoni stops running wild with all his crazy "just run down there, chuck it, and run back" offense. We've never understood this criticism of D'Antoni — heavens, did you see how much Jared Jeffries played in the playoffs? Yes, we suppose you did — but clearly, a defensive coach was coming in whether he liked it or not. Which we're sure will make for an always-comfortable work environment.
So, what do you need to know about Mike Woodson? Five fun factoids about the man who many believe could end up the next head coach of the Knicks, once D'Antoni's contract expires.
1. The Knicks drafted him. Back in 1980, when the draft was five rounds long. (They also drafted Kurt Rambis that year, in the third round.) It wasn't a particularly great draft after Woodson — the Knicks came one pick away from being able to grab Kiki Vandeweghe — and they traded him to the Kansas City Kings two years later. He was a lot better with the Kings.
2. "Woodson and his wife Terri have two daughters, Alexis and Mariah, and both are very talented volleyball players." Sorry, we took that one straight from the Wikipedia page, of which we suspect Alexis and Mariah are regular editors.
3. He got fired from his last job. Woodson coached the Atlanta Hawks for six seasons, and they improved every season. They won thirteen games his first year, and by the end, they'd made the playoffs three straight seasons. He didn't want to leave, but the Hawks were clearly ready for him to go.
4. He's known as a defensive coach, but might not actually be a defensive coach. Quoth John Hollinger of ESPN: "He was an old-school guy who patterned his coaching style after Larry Brown, yet his teams were never particularly good defensively. He had players who were devastating in transition, yet his instincts were to slow the game to a crawl. He was criticized heavily for his team's offense, yet that was the one thing that consistently worked; in fact scouts say he was among the best designing plays out of timeouts."
5. Guess who he's really good friends with. From the Daily News story today:
Woodson's hiring was recommended by Isiah Thomas, a long-time friend and former teammate who continues to serve as Garden chairman Jim Dolan's top unpaid consultant. Woodson's alliance with Thomas goes back more than 30 years, when he helped Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight recruit Thomas to Indiana.
Yeah, so there's that.