In the NBA, defense wins championships. Just ask Mike D'Antoni whose highly talented offensive teams of the past have sniffed NBA titles, but never won them. The Knicks made a huge step in the right direction, the defensive direction, signing former Atlanta Hawks head coach, Mike Woodson.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Woodson, having been drafted 12th overall by the New York Knicks in the 1980 draft. Before that, he was a protege under Bob Knight at Indiana University. And as we all know, you don't become a protege of Knight without thinking defense first.

To further his defensive resume, Woodson is well known for getting the most out of his defensive players. Under Larry Brown, he was an assistant coach on the 2003-04 NBA champion Detroit Pistons. Under Brown, Woodson's defenses held teams to under 42 percent shooting.

Woodson's most recent job was with the Atlanta Hawks. He coached there for six seasons, improving the Hawks' record each year. Problem was, he ran into the Orlando Magic during his second playoff run as the coach in Atlanta. After being quickly disposed of by the Magic, Woodson was abruptly fired upon the second-round playoff exit.

Woodson will be the perfect defensive compliment to D'Antoni's offensive-minded system. Woodson will bring a long history of great defense with him to the Knicks, a team that ranked 28th overall in points allowed at 105.7. Their offense was ranked second-best in the NBA.


If the Knicks can play better defense next season, while keeping up their offensive ability, they will certainly be a dangerous and top team next season. The problem may arise when defense gets in the way of D'Antoni's "run and gun" system. D'Antoni will have to embrace a more defensive style that Woodson will bring if he ever wants to win an NBA championship with the New York Knicks.

Another thing I find interesting in the Woodson hire, is now D'Antoni may have his heir-apparent sitting on the bench next to him. I gave you Woodson's resume with the Hawks, taking a young team and improving them year after year.

Woodson could be the Knicks' solution at head coach if D'Antoni doesn't work out, and with the young team the Knicks have, Woodson would be the perfect guy to develop the younger players while making the Knicks a championship contender.

No matter what, D'Antoni will have to make significant strides towards being a championship contender in 2011, otherwise he may find himself looking for a new job after this season. If there is a season.

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