New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson says he's not worried about job security despite the team's ugly situation, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York reports. The start of the season has been a disaster for the Knicks, who are 1-3 and likely to be without starting center Tyson Chandler for the next month due to a knee injury.
Speaking with ESPN New York 98.7 on Wednesday, Woodson reiterated confidence in the job he's doing:
I have been at this thing 30 years. And the one thing I never and will never do is look over my shoulder. I won't do that. I got too much pride for that. I think what we have done here for the last few years, we made some major ground and some major steps ... But this is a different year. That team that played and won 54 games is not here. It is my job as a coach to get this team to gel and play at a high level. If I got to always look over my shoulders, then I can't do my job, so that is why I never do that. Try to look ahead, that is what is staring at me right now."
Without Chandler, the Knicks' best defensive player, a gaping hole sits in the middle of the team's lineup. As SB Nation's Tom Ziller wrote earlier Wednesday, New York's frontcourt is "a tire fire that just got worse" in wake of Chandler's absence, leaving the team in a somewhat desperate situation just a few games into the season.
What makes this entire situation particularly interesting is the contrast between Ziller's comments, a sentiment shared by many, and the public statements of Woodson and Knicks owner James Dolan. Recently, it was reported that Dolan believes the Knicks have a championship-caliber roster, and Woodson didn't back off those comments Wednesday.
"Expectations are high and they should be," Woodson said. "I am not running from that as the coach. As the owner, Mr. Dolan being an owner of our team, he has every right to voice his opinion. This is his team, we all work for Mr. Dolan and I am happy to be a worker for Mr. Dolan."
Right now, as Ziller outlined in his post, the Knicks' big man options amount to Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, Cole Aldrich and a small dose of Amar'e Stoudemire when his knees allow. To any sane observer, that's a massive problem, the kind of thing that will quickly detonate the Knicks' season before Chandler ever gets back to stem the tide.
Dolan seems to disagree with this popular assessment, and Woodson decided to publicly side with his employer. But when you can't even properly evaluate the guys that you're watching nearly every single night, that's a huge problem. Even worse, those guys are Bargnani, Martin and company -- you're telling me Dolan and Woodson spoke after the team's loss to Charlotte about high expectations?
It's a worrisome situation in New York, where the team's expensive roster already looks to be imploding due to the questionable knees of its top two post players. But it's only four games into the season, so everyone involved is still talking championships and high expectations. A few more games like the loss to Charlotte should quickly change those minds.
The Knicks have major issues, whether the team's biggest names would like to publicly admit such things. Rolling Bargnani at center makes sense when you measure his height, but the idea falls apart with every rebound he fails to corral despite his physical advantages.
Before the season, you probably could've squinted and seen the Knicks as a title contender, particularly with a healthy Chandler roaming the middle. With each passing day, though, it appears Dolan and Woodson will need to re-evaluate where things stand in New York.