Woodson’s Style Recalls That of Knicks’ Great, Holzman

Published on: 21st March, 2012

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Woodson's Style Recalls That of Knicks' Great, Holzman  | read this item

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New York – Back in the glory days of the New York Knicks franchise, there was an old coach named Red Holzman who had never coached an NBA team before. He liked scouting and operating in the background, staying far away from the high-profile world of being an NBA head coach.

It was in 1967, when the Knicks were floundering terribly, that management, desperate to turn around their team, turned to Holzman, a quiet sort who had been a scout with the team since 1957.

In a very short time, Holzman, in a quiet and dignified manner, transformed a team of prima donnas and players interested solely in building their scoring statistics, into the very best team in the NBA. His formula? Defense, defense, and more defense.

Holzman was voted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1991, on the strength of his ability to successfully instill the basic precepts of the game into his team, and that was teamwork.

”I don’t think there is such a thing as a coaching genius,” Holzman said, ”just hard workers.”

Holzman’s hard work revolved around the fundamentals of the game. ”I stressed defense — pressure defense,” he once said. ”And team basketball. And, on offense, moving the ball to hit the open man.” In huddles he would sometimes let his players devise plays to create baskets. As for defense, however, he was the sole voice.

The Knicks of Mike D’Antoni played a speedball version of the game on offense, designed to keep defenses off balance and get as many shots up towards the basket in as short a time span as possible. If a player was open, he was to shoot it. It gave players opportunities to inflate their scoring statistics and receive huge contracts to keep scoring at the same pace.

Holzman Won Two NBA Championships With Knicks

Mike Woodson, an old Knick out of the ’80s and not the ’60s and ’70s, but an old Knick who learned from Red Holzman, gives them their only chance to make the move we thought they were going to make in the Eastern Conference after Jeremy Lin happened.

He is 54 years old. He has been all over the league as a player and coach, been traded and fired and hates to lose, at basketball or golf or anything. He’s a good man and a tough guy, one the geniuses on 33rd St. should leave alone, not peck at with their silly rules and obsessions, just let him coach his team the rest of the way.

 

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