2013 Report Card: Tyson Chandler


Season Age Tm G MP PER TS% ORB% DRB% BLK%
2010-11 28 DAL 74 2059 18.4 0.697 12.2 26.6 3
2011-12 29 NYK 62 2061 18.7 0.708 11.8 22.7 3.4
2012-13 30 NYK 66 2164 18.9 0.671 14.1 24.3 3
Career 790 22508 16.1 0.615 12.8 24.1 3.7

(Table from basketball-reference.com)

Jonathan already said much of what needed to be said about Chandler’s importance to the Knicks earlier this week. Chandler’s 2013 was what we have come to think of as pretty darn Chandler-y. His past three regular seasons, one in Dallas and two in New York, all of which have seen him exceed 2000 minutes played, are nearly identical. Rock-solid-to-excellent production in practically every category. Always an excellent finisher, Chandler rarely misses inside his admittedly modest range. His tap outs on offensive rebounds are now officially “a thing” that others imitate. Say what you will about his playoff performance, the Knicks are not a 2 seed without Chandler on his A game.

I typically pay little attention to total minutes played, but in this case it’s worth looking at how his minutes were managed in Dallas versus in New York. He played fewer total minutes over 74 games in Dallas than in his two seasons in New York, where he’s never played even 70 games. (The young) Brendan Haywood and (somewhat in shape) DeSagana Diop certainly kept his minutes modest. Over his career it seems clear that all work and no rest makes Tyson a dull center come springtime. It wasn’t just 2013. His playoff numbers are generally uninspiring. And, it’s not all about health and conditioning either. As efficient as Chandler is, he is quite limited offensively, which hurts the Knicks against better defenses unless the floor is perfectly spaced around him.

In terms of assessing Chandler’s 2013, a lot of it comes down to how you weight the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Or put another way, given the broad sweep of his career, how much is on him for not being better in the playoffs versus New York for its inability to surround him with better backups? In fairness to the front office, I thought acquiring Camby was solid thinking that just didn’t work out. I also don’t see why Chandler can’t develop a 15-foot jumper (that he’s willing to use).

Grades (5 point scale):
Offense: 4
(uber-efficient; with a 15-foot jumper he’d be Garnett-like)
Defense: 5
(he’s still one of the 3-4 best defensive bigs in the game; he covers up a lot of poor perimeter defense)
Teamwork: 5
(he tries to hold people accountable on D, and was doing that by himself basically until KMart)
Rootability: 3.5 
(closest player to Starks in New York in a long time, but boy has he come up small in some big moments)
Performance/Expectations: 4
(we might want more but its hard to expect more)
Final Grade: B
(Fantastic work all semester, but then got sloppy after spring break and lost the A on the final exam)

Filling Out the Roster (cont’d): Point Guards and Small Forwards

ESPN New York beat writer Jared Zwerling is saying that the Knicks plan to fill out the roster with two bigs, two point guards, and a wing. Two PGs seems a bit excessive. I’d be a little surprised if that were the mix. I take a look at some available players who could fill the various roles. I’m not going to include much on the guys we already know (e.g., Kenyon Martin, Jerome Jordan, Chris Smith).

 

BACKUP PG OPTIONS

  • Nate Robinson – It’s unlikely he signs for what NY can offer, but it’s not unthinkable. The Negatives: We know a lot about what he doesn’t bring to the table.* The Positives: Nate’s reputation as a gunner is exaggerated if not undeserved. (His career 15 FGA/36 isn’t out of sorts for combo guards.). He’s also been mostly a league average or better shooter. He’s a decent (not great) passer and has generally kept TOs to 2.5/36 or fewer. Overall: You never know. The Knicks could absolutely stand to build more redundancy into the PG position. Nate has an ideal skill set because he creates a great deal of flexibility. Woody could also stand to bring Felton’s minutes down closer to 30 MPG. It’s interesting that Nate’s name hasn’t really been linked to any other team.

*Please note that I’ll defend to the death my belief that Robinson’s reputation for immaturity was slanderously exaggerated by Mike Breen. Nate can be a bit of a clown, but he’s not Javaris Crittendon. He’s not Stephen Jackson. Hell, he’s not even Gilbert Arenas.

  • Rodgrigue Beaubois – The Negatives: He declined almost across the board after a promising rookie season. The numbers suggest: stay away entirely or at best rent-don’t-buy. The Positives: His (high) assists have remained stable, despite declines almost everywhere else. That’s a pretty big deal for a PG. So, there’s that. Overall: The question is whether, after such a promising start, he can become anything more than an end of the bench player.
  • D.J. Augustin – He’s a solid backup PG. For the money that’s out there at this point, I don’t see why he would’t re-sign with Indiana. Also, I have some concerns about whether he can defend in Woody’s switch-happy scheme.
  • Chauncey Billups – Evidently, the Knicks are in pursuit (h/t P&T). We know what he brings to the table – high assists, low turnovers, still shoots the triple. Or, at least that’s what he brought to the table. Who knows what he has left?

 

SMALL FORWARD OPTIONS

Depending on how you feel about Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks either have one or no “true” small forwards. The Knicks can play any number of players at small forward for certain matchups, including Shumpert and Smith. Still, Woody could use a traditional small forward. To be honest, few of the options look all that appetizing.

  • Anthony Morrow – He began his career as a Novakian shooter but he’s come back to earth a bit the past few seasons.
  • Lamar Odom – On a minimum deal, I’d like Lamar. A lot of what I wrote about Elton Brand rings true for Odom. He can’t shoot at all anymore, but does most everything else. NY could mix and match Odom at both forwards. The Lakers appear to be ready the amnesty Metta World Peace and are in the hunt for Odom.
  • Luke Babbitt – He probably has the most upside on this list. Heading into only his age 24 season he’s already an accomplished 3pt. shooter and a presence on the defensive glass. He could fill the Novak role.
  • Wesley Johnson – He could be a worthwhile change-of-scenery gamble, but it looks increasingly like he parlayed one fantastic season at Syracuse into a top 5 selection. I never saw much of him in college, so I don’t have a feel for whether he can play.
  • Mickael Pietrus & Dahntay Jones – Both aging defensive specialists shoot juuuust enough to retain some value.
  • Sam Young – Eww. Still, compared to Johnson at least Young can defend a bit.
  • Raja Bell – The Knicks have worked him out. (See the Billups link.) No thanks. At this point, he’d just be stealing minutes from Shumpert.
  • Metta World Peace – I initially didn’t include Metta because the Lakers had not officially amnestied him, but mostly because I just didn’t want to contemplate it. Well…  The Negatives: What role does he play for the Knicks? Is he a starter at SF? Is he a reserve at both forwards? Is he insane? He’s also a worse rebounder than Bargnani. (I bet a lot of you didn’t know that.) The Positives: He’s still got some game left in the tank. I thought his 3pt. shooting had fallen off a cliff, but it looks more like he had an outlier crappy season in 2012. He’s mostly been a good perimeter shooter. His defense may not be what it once was, but his fouls/36 have remained pretty consistent. Overall: I thought I’d be much more firmly opposed to Metta, but the more I ponder this the more it seems like signing Shane Battier just with a bit more crazy.

(UPDATE: Anthony Morrow signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. Yeah, that still sounds odd.)

Filling Out the Roster: Options at Backup Center

ESPN New York beat writer Jared Zwerling is saying that the Knicks plan to fill out the roster with two bigs, two point guards, and a wing. Two PGs seems a bit excessive. I’d be a little surprised if that were the mix. I take a look at some available players who could fill the various roles. I’m not going to include much on the guys we already know (e.g., Kenyon Martin, Jerome Jordan, Chris Smith).

Players are listed in no particular order, with links to each player page at basketball-reference.com. I also think NBA.com has a pretty good free agent tracker.

BACKUP CENTER OPTIONS

  • Samuel Dalembert – If you’re looking for a “poor man’s” Tyson Chandler then Dalembert should probably be your top target for the rest of the mini-MLE. The Negatives: He’s 31 and he’s been out of shape. Not “Big Snacks” out-of-shape, but he only played 47 games for Milwaukee last season. He got into Scott Skiles notoriously roomy dog house and got benched. The Positives: Despite that, Dalembert had a fairly typical season in 2012–a season the Knicks could sorely use. He shot well (TS: .563), rebounded nicely (O%-14.2, D%-22.9), and wasn’t far off his career avg. for blocks (5.1 vs. 5.6%). Overall: This guy is about as good as there is in traditional centers if you’re not looking for upside. There may eventually be some comp from other playoff teams but it hasn’t emerged yet.
  • Cole Aldrich – I admit to liking Aldrich when he came out of Kansas. I thought he’d become a Collison-quality big man. The Negatives: Hard to say since he hasn’t gotten much run in the league. I suppose that’s a negative. Statistically he’s been a bit of a turnover machine, but so are a lot of bigs who don’t get consistent minutes. He’s hardly old at 25 this season, but you can’t really play the upside card anymore. The Positives: His excellent college rebounding and shot-blocking have translated to limited minutes in the NBA. This guy just needs a little run. Overall: Aldrich could be a Jeremy Lin-style find. I’m NOT talking Lin-level talent, but just a useful guy that probably fell between the cracks. It’d be hard to argue with Aldrich on a minimum contract.
  • Elton Brand – I have to say, Brand may be getting a little too much love from the Knick faithful. The Negatives: His rising fouls per 36 (4.5/36 last season) are a major red flag. As is his declining efficiency. He’s been a below average to awful shooter for most of the past five seasons. He was nuclear winter cold in Dallas in just 21 MPG. The Positives: On defense he still rebounds and blocks shots. I love that. He’s still a useful passer, even though his assist rate has declined. Overall: For the kind of money we’re talking he’d be an okay signing. I just think we can do about as well or better for probably the same money. We signed four old guys last off-season and got, oh, about a quarter-season’s worth of actual backup for Chandler.
  • Brandan Wright – The Negatives: He is an undersized center (not power forward) in the extreme. He is listed at 6’9″ and #205 on BB-reference. He played a career high 64 games last season, his fifth. The Positives: There is a lot to like if you understand what you’re getting. Wright is a consistently good shooter (career .594 TS) and rebounder at both ends (O%-9.1; D%-16.4). He even blocks a couple shots (2.3/36). Overall: A portion of the mini-MLE seems to be precisely what he’s worth, but the market for him seems deeper. He’s on everybody’s list as a guy they’d like to get cheap. Someone seems destined to overpay.
  • Timofey Mozgov – The rumor mill has it that Mozgov has interest from Russia on a four year deal, which means he’s not likely on NY’s radar.
  • Greg StiemsmaThe Negatives: He was just turrbull on offense for Minnesota, who waived him, after good rookie season with Boston. He does not appear to have an NBA-quality offensive skill. The Positives: I see a Jared Jeffries-type, who rebounds, plays good position defense, and can even block a shots (3.2/36). He could be a decent end-of-bench vet if, for instance, paired with another big man that can score. Someone like…
  • Josh Harrellson – Yeah, we all know what Jorts brings to the table. But you may not know he went for 30 and 23 for Chongqing FD (China) earlier this month.
  • Byron MullensThe Negatives: He seems like a crappier version of what Bargnani is now. He took over five triples/36, hitting only 31.7%. He didn’t do much else and Charlotte gave up on him. The Positives: He’s an okay defensive rebounder and can pass a bit. Overall: The Lakers are sniffing around. I have little interest in bidding for this guy.
  • Chris WilcoxThe Positives & Negatives: He shot the bejeezus out of the ball for Boston last year, but did so on basically career-low minutes and usage in only 61 games. I have always liked Wilcox, but I think you’re a fool if you pay him above the minimum.

 

Off-Season Musings 2.0

If you missed Off-season Musings 1.0 check it out.

Again, this is a quasi-open thread to discuss potential losses and additions. Same ground rules as last time, yeah?

1. Let’s stay away from pure rosterbation, shall we? With little cap space for major free agent signings and few assets worth trading, Chris Paul is not walking through that door. It’s not impossible I suppose, but the Knicks aren’t well positioned for that kind of deal.

2. Check out your idea before posting. You can check trades against the CBA any number of places, including realgm. You can also find player contract and team salary cap information at basketball-reference.

POSSIBLE LOW-KEY ADDITIONS — PRO PLAYERS

It’s always hard to anticipate these kinds of moves without inside information. We don’t know exactly what the future holds for New York’s free agents, Martin, Smith, Prigioni, and Copeland. Regardless, the Knicks still need a backup for Tyson Chandler. Last off-season’s plan was clearly to throw bodies at the position. Unfortunately, those bodies were brittle and old. So Chandler still ended up playing too many minutes, until he got injured, sick, and generally worn down. Enter Roy Hibbert, and it just got ugly. I will admit to feeling like scooping up older bigs with skill last off-season was moneyballing some market inefficiency. Mayhap we look at a few younger bodies this off-season?

Here are a few under-the-radar names I’m keeping an eye on. They don’t address every need–certainly not Melo’s* alleged demand for an additional scorer–but I’m concentrating on potential bargains.

*I usually turn a jaundiced eye to any “reporting” from the Post. So I don’t know how accurate Melo’s alleged demand is. I feel fairly confident, however, that someone at the Post believes New York needs another “scorer”. In my humble opinion the Knicks could use, as much as anything, for Tyson Chandler to develop a 15-18 foot jumper the same way Udonis Haslem did. 

Brandan Wright is a solid two-way rotational big (not a small forward though) who probably carries too little bulk to ever be more than an 18-20 minute, matchup dependent 4 or 5. He may never play 82 games. So even though there is a lot to like, his price tag might stay reasonable. Here’s a great write up on Wright at MavsMoneyBall. Sure, Dallas likes him but if they’re serious about getting in on Dwight Howard they may have to let Wright walk even if its for reasonable money.

Al-Farouq Aminu is only 22. I’m not sure how much bloom is left on that rose though. The Pelicans failed to pick up his option, despite the fact that he seems to have come into his own as a one-dimensional (elite) rebounding forward. The Pels need offense and they have already invested a high draft pick (Xavier Henry, plus a lot of other backup bodies) at his position. They like Aminu, and may not let him walk unless someone overpays. Given his limited skill set though, no one may back a dump truck filled with cash up to his door. New Orleans could probably keep him for reasonable money, but with another high draft pick on the way the numbers game may not favor Aminu staying in New Orleans. For the right price Aminu could provide New York the flexibility to go big without having to play Melo at the 3. He’d generally allow Woodson to keep a rebounder on the floor when Chandler is resting.

Shaun Livingston is a fairly safe bet to return to Cleveland. In fact, I’m not even sure he could play for New York since he can’t shoot the three. Still, I’ve always liked Livingston. He’s a solid defender, excellent passer and rebounder. He also had a good season backing up Kyrie Irving. The second-tier guard market is a buyer’s market this off-season. So pair Livingston’s injury history with Irving’s, and the Cavs may consider finding a backup with less injury risk (not to mention more scoring punch). For his part, Livingston won’t be able to command much, which may well lead him back to Cleveland.

 

Off-Season Musings 1.0

With the conference finals in full swing, and Knick fans left dreaming of what might have, it is time to think about what is coming up next. Free agency and the draft are right around the corner.

For the most part, the Knicks core of Anthony, Chandler, STAT, and Shump is set. Roster changes will most likely involve the other players and are likely to come from the draft, via minor trades and low dollar free agent signings.

Given that, I figured I’d put up a quasi-open thread to discuss potential losses and additions—but with some ground rules.

1. Let’s stay away from pure rosterbation, shall we? With little cap space for major free agents and few assets worth trading, Larry Bird Chris Paul is not walking through that door. It’s not impossible I suppose, but the Knicks aren’t well positioned for that kind of deal.

2. Check out your idea before posting. You can check trades ideas against the CBA at ESPN and RealGM. You can also find player contract and team salary cap information at basketball-reference.com.

I will add a few words about potential losses and additions, and update this post throughout the off-season.

POSSIBLE LOSSES

1. J.R. Smith – Odds favor Earl’s return, and not without some justification. His detractors and agnostics will surely point his to piss-poor shooting and remind us that it wasn’t just bad in the playoffs. His regular-season .522 TS% was well below his career mark of .540. His supporters will point to real improvement from “bad J.R.” Most nights he brought an improved floor game to at least partially offset his awful shooting. We saw sustainable career bests in DREB % and TOV %. We also saw a little less 3PT gunning (more than one full 3PTA/36 below his career average, his 4th fewest), and more willingness to challenge the defense (a near career best FTA/36). The major question is whether the Knicks overpay.

2. Pablo Prigioni – Will someone price the Knicks out of the market? I doubt it but that is the question.

3. Kenyon Martin and Chris Copeland – Ditto.

4. Raymond Felton and Steve Novak – With 3 more seasons left on their respective deals neither is likely to go anywhere, especially Novak with his newly balky back. And yet, either could be flipped for a complimentary player or be part of a bigger deal to make numbers work. To that latter point you could add James White and possibly Marcus Camby.

5. The Rabble (Quentin Richardson, Earl Barron) – Neither is likely to return, though it’s worth noting that Q-Rich shot 35% from the arc in Orlando just a season ago. He looked to be in good shape, and if Novak is going to be chronically back spasmy you could do worse at the end of the bench.

POSSIBLE ADDITIONS – THE DRAFT

Virtually everyone is saying that this is a role player-heavy, beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder draft. That’s fine for the Knicks, who pick at #24 anyway.

I have included draft prospects ranked #20-28 on the “big boards” of three different sites (i.e., DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, and SBNation. These boards have each been updated since mid-May. They just give you an idea of some of the names likely to be linked with New York in the coming weeks.

Prospect Rankings, #20-28

Draftexpress

NBADraft.net

SB Nation

20 Tony Mitchell, PF, 21 years old, Sophomore6′ 9″ 236lbs.North Texas Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 185lbs.Michigan Dario Saric, SF, 19 years old, International6′ 10″ 223lbs.Cibona Zagreb
21 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, 20 years old, Sophomore6′ 6″ 204lbs.Georgia Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, 18 years old, International6′ 9″ 196lbs.Filathlitikos Rudy Gobert, C, 20 years old, International7′ 2″ 238lbs.Cholet
22 Dario Saric, SF, 19 years old, International6′ 10″ 223lbs.Cibona Zagreb Shane Larkin, PG, 20 years old, Sophomore5′ 11″ 171lbs.Miami FL Reggie Bullock, SF, 22 years old, Junior6′ 7″ 200lbs.North Carolina
23 Shane Larkin, PG, 20 years old, Sophomore5′ 11″ 171lbs.Miami FL Gorgui Dieng, C, 23 years old, Junior6′ 11″ 230lbs.Louisville Shabazz Muhammad, SF, 20 years old, Freshman6′ 6″ 222lbs.UCLA
24 Allen Crabbe, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 197lbs.California Rudy Gobert, C, 20 years old, International7′ 2″ 238lbs.Cholet Kelly Olynyk, C, 22 years old, Junior7′ 0″ 234lbs.Gonzaga
25 Jeff Withey, C, 23 years old, Senior7′ 0″ 222lbs.Kansas Lorenzo Brown, PG, 22 years old, Junior6′ 5″ 189lbs.N.C. State Steven Adams, C, 19 years old, Freshman7′ 0″ 255lbs.Pittsburgh
26 Glen Rice, SF, 22 years old, Senior6′ 6″ 211lbs.Rio Grande Valley Tony Mitchell, PF, 21 years old, Sophomore6′ 9″ 236lbs.North Texas Kenny Kadji, PF, 25 years old, Senior6′ 10″ 242lbs.Miami FL
27 Giannis Adetokunbo*, SF, 18 years old, International6′ 9″ 196lbs.Filathlitikos Sergey Karasev, SG/SF, 20 years old, International6′ 7″ 197lbs., 1993BC Triumph Jamaal Franklin, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 5″ 191lbs.San Diego State
28 Archie Goodwin, SG, 18 years old, Freshman6′ 5″ 189lbs.Kentucky Allen Crabbe, SG, 21 years old, Junior6′ 6″ 197lbs.California Brandon Davies, C, 21 years old, Senior6′ 10″ 242lbs.BYU

*I have seen multiple spellings of this guy’s name.

If you’re looking for rookies who could come right in and play a role a few names jump immediately to mind.

  1. Gorgui Dieng (Louisville) would be a godsend. He is Tyson Chandler-lite. He can run, block shots, and board. If you watched the title game you also saw an emerging pick-and-pop game. My guess is that he won’t be around for New York at pick #24.
  2. Tony Mitchell (North Texas) has an NBA body and athleticism (6’8-3/4” in shoes, 235#, 7’2-1/2” wingspan—yes, please). Boy, is he raw though. His ability to contribute right away probably depends on what you ask him to do. He should be able to defend, rebound, and run the floor, but there are question marks. After the former Missouri recruit sat out for academics and signed with North Texas he had a promising freshman season. He surprised many by staying in school after a coaching change. It did not go well. The team disintegrated and he regressed across the board. A red flag for me is that he should have been renowned as a physical player in the Sunbelt Conference with his measurables, but he wasn’t that sophomore year. He boarded well as a freshman—not dominant, but well—then fell way off as a sophomore. He took more 3s and fewer free throws. At #24, New York should throw confetti if a talent like Mitchell falls to them. I’d be happy to get him but he definitely comes with a caveat emptor sign. Update: Instead of writing all that I should have just sent you over to P&T for Jonathan Tjarks’ excellent write up on Mitchell.
  3. Allen Crabbe (Cal) is just about tailor-made to play in New York’s offense. (Watch the video scouting report at DraftExpress.) He probably has a lower ceiling than the other two, but could theoretically step into his long-term role right away. Mike Montgomery is a very good college coach, so Crabbe knows how to play. He’s mostly catch-and-shoot, but with enough handle to beat overplays. Think Miami’s James Jones, but with better handle.

Of the three, I suspect that Crabbe is most likely to be available.

Next time: Possible Pro Player Additions

Quickie Postmortem & Thoughts on Coach Woodson

Congrats to the Pacers.

They were better on both ends. You just have to tip your cap. This series was mostly about what they did right, even if the Knicks didn’t do everything they needed to win. Good luck to the Pacers in the ECF. It’s hard to bet against the Heat though. Indiana will need to keep turnovers down to have any chance against a much better, more aggressive Miami defense. (Remember, they didn’t really shoot that well versus New York and they gave away a ton of possessions.) Hibbert must play even better defense. His reverse posterizing of Melo will not soon be forgotten though–wow. Still, he won’t be able to just hang out by the restricted area with Bosh and Haslem on the floor. Unlike New York, Miami’s big frontcourt with Haslem and Bosh puts more mid-range shooting on the floor. Drawing Hibbert even a half-step further from the paint could be the difference in the series. It won’t matter how “vertical” he is if he’s late. Still, Indiana can pose a credible threat to the Heat if they catch some breaks. If Wade pulls a Tyson Chandler and plays at what looks like 80% it could make things interesting.

But anyway, this post is about the Knicks, and specifically coach Woodson.

Woodson was legitimately terrible against Indiana. He did not bring wood. He took wood like Vogel’s pledge. Vogel ruthlessly paddled Woodson like he was on line, exploiting his sudden–and odd–conversion to fundamentalist truisms (“play your best rebounders”, “only play eight guys”, and “always have a  ‘savvy’ veteran on the floor for leadership and ‘intangibles'”). Woodon seemingly had the Midas touch all season, and the temerity to dismiss some conventions for results. Then, suddenly, he just lost it.

I was whining to a friend and fellow Knicks fan after game 4 that Woodson isn’t innovative. He merely had innovative lineups forced on him because of the team’s injury situation. My friend dutifully pointed out, it’s never so simple as that. Necessity is the mother of invention yet many inventions are never born. Their births are not to be taken for granted. Woody’s been pretty good about putting guys on the floor in roles that accentuate their strengths. That’s not true of every coach. So, I will only speak for myself here, and resolve to be less dismissive. Over an 82 game season and a first round series Woody made pretty good choices under trying circumstances. There are always bad choices available, and the good ones aren’t nearly so obvious as we like to imagine (especially once we concede that good choices don’t always work out and sometimes bad ones do).

Some on the twitterverse are calling for Woody’s dismissal, and not without some justification. In fact last night I was right there in full-throated howl. After a night of less-than-spectacular sleep, I am re-thinking my howl. Three pretty obvious reasons:

1. Room for growth — As Bob noted in his post-game, Woodson made adjustments. Too late for them to matter (as if to troll us), but he did, in fact, make them, or at least he made some. As much as anything, that’s a tell-tale sign of a coach with the capacity to improve. Woody threw away a lot of unproductive minutes on Jason Kidd and JR Smith. He rode with his guys. But, “riding their guys” is the most common coaching flaw in the league. It almost certainly comes with any coach you get, unless it’s Larry Brown. Then you get schizophrenia  The best you can usually get is when the guys a coach is riding aren’t completely worthless. Next season those guys are more likely to be Shump and Copeland. That thought leaves me hopeful.

2. James Dolan — New York’s front office has done a pretty credible job of roster construction, all things considered. But a new coaching hire is ultimately going to be Dolan’s call. Who trusts Dolan with a non-Phil Jackson hire? Who really wants to be inundated with a dozen Isola columns about how Isiah Thomas is coming back to coach the Knicks? Who among us would dare tempt the basketball gods this way? (They are clearly of the crazy Old Testament variety.)

3. Switching costs are a bear — Even if Dolan gave the GM “full creative control” how confident are we that a clear and significant coaching upgrade is available? That’s an important question, because a marginal upgrade that comes with substantial switching costs (e.g., new roles, new defensive rotations, etc.) is not that attractive to me.

This should hardly be construed as a ringing endorsement for Woodson. Guys have been fired for less. Whether he deserves to be fired is never the most relevant question though. Almost every coach does at some point. The most relevant question is always can the Knicks find a large enough upgrade to justify the all the costs that come with transition?