Mike Woodson on preparing team despite adversity: ‘I’ve failed somewhat in that area’
New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson says that he has come up woefully short in the task of getting his players adequately prepared to take the court as the team has had to deal with adversity and controversy — not to mention losing — throughout the season.
As the New York Knicks prepare to play the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on Wednesday night, Woodson cut open a vein, speaking at length about the tumultuous and disappointing season the Knicks have experienced, which has arguably bottomed out during the team’s recent seven-game losing streak.
Woodson admitted that the responsibility of getting and then keeping the team prepared and motivated rests on his shoulders entirely and that he has “somewhat failed” in performing a duty rightfully expected of a head coach. But despite how challenging it has been for him, he later defiantly stated under no uncertain terms would he throw in the towel and quit.
“It’s been a major challenge, there’s no doubt about that,” Woodson said on Wednesday about the struggles the team has been through, according to the New York Daily News. “When you come into a season after experiencing two wonderful seasons, something the Knicks haven’t done in some years, and you go through a season like this, it’s been very, very challenging for me.
“But again, I’m a realist. I look at all the different things that have happened, surrounding our ball club, and I try to put it in its proper perspective in terms of how to deal with it on a day-to-day basis and how to still try to get our team up to speed and where they need to be as a team on the floor and I feel like I’ve failed somewhat in that area.”
With the team sitting at 21-40 and mired in the terrible losing streak, the belief that with every passing game — and loss — it becomes more and more certain that the chances of Woodson saving his job are slim to none, barring some miraculous turnaround.
Woodson maintains he’s won’t give up, nor will he resign.
“But at the end of the day, we still have a shot and my thought process will never change in terms of me being a coach here,” Woodson insisted. “I still think I was the guy for the job, and I still think I’m the guy for the job, and I’m going to continue to work in that area.”
“Guys, I’ve been in this thing 31 years and I’ve been on losing teams as a player, I’ve been on winning teams as a player, I’ve coached losing teams, I’ve coached winning teams. I’ve seen a lot of basketball,” Woodson said. “If I sit here and hang my head — I’m not happy about what’s going on, there’s no doubt about that — but I’m not gonna sit here and lose sight of who I am and what I think I can become and what I think this team can become.
“Right now we’re just in a struggling mode right now, and the only people that are going to get us out of it are me and this team, these players. They’re going to have to work their (butts) off to get it done.”
“Struggling mode” is putting it mildly. And even if the Knicks could somehow go on a torrid winning streak, the odds remain stacked against the team getting back into the playoff chase. With only 21 games remaining the Knicks find themselves 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks, the team currently sitting as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Furthermore, the Knicks only have a few weeks before a planned fan protest that is being organized for March 19 outside Madison Square Garden, a certifiable public relations nightmare for the stumbling organization.
With that in mind, Woodson better summon all the motivational and coaching skills he has and get this team winning. No more excuses and admissions that he has “failed somewhat in that area.”