To the pleasure of many Knicks fans, ESPN New York is reporting that the team will come together for an early training, beginning this coming Monday.
Seeing the players get together and work towards being on the same page in time for next season is all numerous fans have been asking for all summer long. It appears now they'll get their wish.
But make no mistake: these isn't just a "players only" workout. Whereas it's been suggested in the past that the team's leaders (such as Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and/or Amar'e Stoudemire) should be the ones to spearhead the said workouts, Coach Mike Woodson has been very involved all summer long in getting his team ready for next season.
Though there may have been more notable coaching candidates available when the Knicks looked to name an official head coach following Woodson's interim period, the man who led New York to an 18-6 finish to end the regular season continues to prove he's the right man for the job.
As KnicksJournal.com mentioned previously this month, Woodson made the effort to travel the globe this summer in order to see his players. He was in London to watch Anthony & Chandler compete in the Olympics. He was in Los Angeles, training with former Knickerbocker Landry Fields and following up with Jeremy Lin. Woodson and assistant coach Herb Williams also ventured down to Houston to watch Stoudemire's workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon (which Woodson himself suggested in the first place).
Not only does Woodson appear dedicated to helping his players improve on the hardwood, but he seems to take an interest off the court as well. Even during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the coach could always be seen talking to a player like STAT or Baron Davis on the sidelines. He also went on various golf outings with J.R. Smith, among others.
During last year's NBA lockout, players were obviously banned from keeping in touch with their coaching staff and other team officials. This certainly could have created a bit of a disconnect as time went on.
But with the ability to constantly stay in his players' ears, Woodson has been making that extra effort. Team chemistry is obviously important, and Woodson keeping the players' informed as to his vision for next season will only help that.
With so much talent currently on the Knicks roster, there's a lot of pressure with much riding on next season. Woodson understands that. The team showed faith and took a chance on him, and he certainly doesn't appear to take that lightly. The coach knows what's at stake and is doing what he can to make sure the team is in the best possible position to succeed---starting with this early training camp.