GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Jeff Van Gundy is baffled over reports and speculation that Mike Woodson’s job could be in jeopardy.
The Knicks (3-13) are riding a nine-game slide into what will feel like a must-win game against struggling Brooklyn (5-13) on Thursday night. Van Gundy, an ESPN analyst, says the Knicks’ problem is not Woodson but rather “a very limited roster.”
“Listen, Mike Woodson, I believe I have my numbers right, was 18-6 when he took over for Mike D’Antoni,” the former Knicks coach said on “The Mike Lupica Show” on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “Then he won a division title last year. Then they made some roster moves, had some injuries and so now they are starting Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, [Carmelo] Anthony, [Raymond] Felton and [Iman] Shumpert. That is the strength of their team.
“Their depth, with some of these injuries, is non-existent,” Van Gundy continued. “Listen this isn’t a coaching issue right now. This is a roster issue. ... The last problem the Knicks have -- the very last problem -- is a coaching issue. Mike Woodson is an outstanding basketball coach who has done an outstanding job. So how can a guy that went from brilliant, be on the proverbial hot seat 16 games into the next season?”
Van Gundy says the Knicks can still make the postseason but to expect much more might be a stretch.
“To a point [the Knicks can turn things around], they can make the playoffs,” Van Gundy said. “But it is a limited roster, very limited roster, with guys who are on the downside of their career. To do it, [Tyson] Chandler has to come back and be really good.
“Carmelo Anthony has to get really efficient offensively and some of the guys who are really struggling shooting the ball are going to have to spread the floor for Anthony so he has enough room to do his work. And they are going to have to shoot the three-point shot a lot better.”
Van Gundy also shot down any notion of him returning to rescue the Knicks if things go south with Woodson.
“Some people think I am behind the scenes plotting my return,” Van Gundy said. “My goodness.”