Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Mike Woodson runs first practice, plans to play through Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire
Mike Woodson ran his first practice as Knicks interim coach. They watched film, went over some defensive principles and schemes and also added some plays to the offense.
They will keep some of Mike D’Antoni’s offense in tact because the team knows them. But Woodson has made it clear both in his introductory press conference yesterday before the Knicks beat the Blazers 121-79 and again today that he plans to run things through Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. That means a reduced role for Jeremy Lin.
As Hawks coach, Woodson ran a lot of isolation plays and post-ups for Joe Johnson. Anthony and Stoudemire probably get them now
“I want everybody to feel comfortable,” Woodson said. “When I put a guy in the game, he's got a shot I want him to feel comfortable about making that shot. But I want everybody to know, when it comes [crunch] time and I've got to get a big shot, I’m going to go to Melo and Amare and guys that have done it.
“A lot of these guys are still young and they're trying to figure it out. Those guys have been around the block a number of times and they've done it, so they'll be the go-to guys down the stretch.”
That probably sounds good to Stoudemire and Anthony, although Melo played coy about his role under Woodson. Anthony probably didn’t want to say too much since he’s getting much of the heat for D’Antoni re-signing. (Later, however, Anthony defended himself profusely against any claims he had any role in his ex-coach’s departure.
As for his role in Woodson’s offense, Anthony said, “We shall see. Today was just one day. It was a learning day. We shall see. We’re not going to change overnight.”
Stoudemire offered more about Woodson’s plan.
“I just think he’s going to utilize his leading scorers, myself and Carmelo,” Stoudemire said. “He’s going to utilize us and make sure that we take advantage of our every opportunity out on the court. We’ve been profound scorers all our career. So we have to make sure we take advantage of that.”
Here’s what Anthony said about today’s practice:
“I think today was just more of a learning day, putting some new sets in, some new plays for guys. Tightening up some things we did defensively, offensively, trying to build on the momentum we had last night.”
“Add some things, some different plays, but keeping some of the same plays that we had because guys are still familiar with that. It’s not going to change overnight. It’s going to take some time. We threw some new sets in there. We’ll see what happens.”