|New York's Sport Junkies||
Woody for coach of the year
By Jeryl Raphael
It has been a long time friends! I have not been as consistent as my other fellow junkies but right now I feel the need to plead the case for a certain Knick who should be in the running for one of the league’s most coveted awards, even if it is only half way through the season. Before you “x” out, thinking this is another “Melo4MVP” article, wait. I present the case of Coach Mike Woodson for coach of the year. For three simple reasons that no one cannot deny:
For an NBA team that seemed to be bit by the turnover bug last season (29th in the league) to come back and hold it to almost a league record low is insane, almost unimaginable. To somehow get this anomaly to occur in one, not even season, but in only an offseason’s worth of time is something to behold.
This year, I saw something occur that I never saw before. Carmelo Anthony arose as a leader. I wasn’t too sure at first if whether it was seeing his longtime companion Lebron James win a title, or just feeling more comfortable as a Knick, but he is in it to win it.
Melo has been throwing his heart into every game and it’s buried in his stats. The fact that Amar’e Stoudemire accepted his bench role, through the realization that the team needed him there,is a testimony to this. Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd both of course do the same, and bring wisdom and guidance along with their graceful intensity, but more importantly a new unlikely leader has arisen.
When I heard on Woodson respond on a talk show that he conversed with this player I thought it was simply because of attitude problems. But it wasn’t that. Yes people, I’m talking about Earl “JR” Smith. As big of a cliche as it sounds, he really and truly saw a powerful asset in Smith, and he explained this to him. He did what no other could, he gave Smith hope, and Smith proved that he wasn’t going to let him down. It is not only in his points, but his poise, his attitude, he tries not to argue with fouls that are unfair, he fights with his play. Woodson’s ability to reach out to players and incite maturity has been a gift from above, and the Knicks organization is soaking in it.
There is more than one reason to why I say this. But the main reason comes from the simple fact that this team has never given up on a game this season. Even if the “scrubs” are thrown in, they play damn hard. There have been games where normal teams would give up, but the Knicks keep fighting. This type of pride is so rare these days because most teams figure the regular season doesn’t matter, they jump into the playoffs, and then that’s when they start to get serious. But having pride is a powerful weapon. It carries itself throughout the season and can set a blaze to both the fans and the audience in the playoffs. However, that isn’t possible without the constant intense play in the season. If you don’t give it your all during the season, then you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
The organization has learned this within the last couple of years, but with Woodson at the helm, they embody it. The team has a blue collar feel in the sense that unless you stretch your limits every second of everyday, you have no place. You go all in, or you back out. Taking a team so selfish and filled to the brim as a PR nightmare and transforming it into a hard working, go getting, rough and tumble defense team, Woodson has changed not only The Knicks, but New York basketball as a whole. He has presented a new era in New York that appears that it will stay, and no fans are complaining. Woodson has done, and continues to transcend in his situation and for that, we must commend him.
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