D'Antoni's resignation was much about putting a new voice in place. The Knicks need someone who can get the most out of his players, eliciting such an effort that can bring them to that next level.
With a 16-6 record thus far, Coach Woodson has undoubtedly done his best to elevate the team as they look forward towards the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony has had an explosive month of April, perhaps even doing enough to emerge as a late M.V.P. candidate. What's more, Amar'e Stoudemire has shown strong signs of being able to contribute amongst Anthony playing his best basketball of the season. With both players on the court, Coach Woodson has led the Knicks to a 7-2 record.
The fact of the matter is that the Knicks have experienced all sorts of improvements under Woodson. The question, however, is if all of this is still not enough for Woodson to warrant a return to the bench next season, what will be?
Both Anthony and Stoudemire have spoken out, not only to praise the job Woodson's done thus far, but also to give him an endorsement for next season. When a team is winning as much as the Knicks have, it's difficult to argue the coach doesn't a chance to finish what he's started, especially if the players buy into his system. Winning solves everything.
That is why if Woodson wants to keep his job, the Knicks simply have to keep on winning; through the playoffs, that is. Woodson has to get his team to the second round of the playoffs, not only to simply keep progressing, but to give the Knicks their best possible chance at competing.
Though Jeremy Lin was seen slowly jogging around at practice earlier this morning, the timetable for his return is still the second round of the playoffs. If Anthony can continue his M.V.P.-like dominance and Stoudemire can do enough to play efficiently alongside him, the Knicks may produce a scrappy enough effort to beat a team like the Bulls or Heat in the first round.
If they can advance to the second round (even though Lin wouldn't necessarily be at 100%), the Knicks would be able to compete with as complete of a roster as they'll get. This would give management the best possible idea (as small of a sample as it may be) as to whether or not Woodson can potentially lead the team towards a title in the years to come.
After taking the time to cement the groundwork and put the right building blocks in place, the Knicks can finally look ahead to the ultimate goal. Should Woodson not be able to show signs that he is the man to help them reach such a goal, there are an array of other worthy candidates who could thrive on the big stage with the bright lights, otherwise known as The Big Apple.
That said, with improvement and advancement being the team's primary goals, management should only decide against bringing Woodson back if they feel they can bring in a coach who has proven to be able to attain such success. Phil Jackson is a championship winning coach, who not only can get the most out of an array of talent, but also may relish the opportunity to have things come full circle in the heart of New York City. A former NBA champion as a New York Knick himself, Jackson may enjoy finishing things where they started.
Because of his track record, Jackson is the man most worthy of replacing Woodson. An NBA team shouldn't fire and/or decline to bring a coach back, only to put one in place that will produce the same results. It's Mike Woodson or Phil Jackson for the Knicks. It just depends on who they decide to put their faith in.