Shame Kansas City couldn’t have left Trey Hillman in their employ for just one more afternoon or we’d have a Triple Crown Of Terminations on our ends, or at least of the sort that would surprise absolutely no one. In addition to Cleveland’s (probable) decision to part ways with Mike Brown (Dan Gilbert’s press conference is scheduled to take place within the hour), the Hawks announced earlier Friday that head coach Mike Woodson (above) would not be offered a new contract. While the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Shultz is careful to warn, “don’t celebrate a man’s unemployment”, he considers the end of Woodson’s tenure, “a mandate to win now, and win big.”
All of the Hawks™ ills are not Woodson™s fault. This roster has flaws. There is no true center (Al Horford is playing out of position). The starting point guard (Mike Bibby) declined significantly this year ” after getting a new three-year contract, oddly enough. The team™s most dynamic player (Josh Smith) is a Hall of Famer one minute and the epitome of a petulant professional athlete the next.
But it had become clear in the playoffs that players had stopped listening to Woodson. A new voice was needed before the direction of the organization started to turn south again.
The Hawks played two playoff series this year and Woodson was outcoached in both. Scott Skiles, whose Milwaukee team lost one starter (guard Michael Redd) early in the season and his best player (center Andrew Bogut) three weeks before the playoffs, nonetheless got his players to believe in themselves and their head coach. The Bucks pushed the Hawks to the brink of elimination before Atlanta players woke up in a cold sweat and won the last two games impressively.
Question: Why did it take being pushed to the edge of a cliff before responding?
In all matters concerning Woodson, stubbornness reigned. Flexibility, creativity, objectivity ” not so much.