Not sure if you heard, but I don't really like Mike Woodson. That is not a rumor. It's true. True fact. And I am not taking back any of those critiques or ribs or moderate insults (Except the one about his eyebrows. I have really come around on shaving eyebrows.) This is no backtrack post. Nor is it an April Fools joke. This is a reality post.
And the reality is Mr. Woody of the Mike has now improved his team every year he has coached. Forty-eight wins and counting this season. I have of course argued against giving credit to our coach. At some point though, it is giving credit to the moon for the sunrise....or something like that. You are just arrogant to pretend you can desipher where the teacher stopped helping and the student took over. Has this been a more student led improvement these five years? Probably. But the teacher deserves credit, a lot of credit.
Patience, resilience, improvement, and growth. These are not bad words, and these are words even a Woody hater can say are true about the coach. They are not words like transformative leader or game changer, but clearly they don't have to be. The Hawks just keep getting better, and there is still room for improvement.
Listen, is Mike Woodson a top five coach? Probably not, but Zaza Pachulia is not a top 20 center and I love him just the same. At some point, you have to see what Woody brings to the table. He survived the growing pains and for the second year in a row has overachieved against the preseason expectations of the national media. You can't pick the Hawks to win 40 or 44 or even 49 games (like I did) and then watch the team go past and say, "Well that was all Josh Smith." Of course it was Josh Smith. He is the one who plays, but don't think for a second any coach in the league could get this team to win fifty games. Could some guys push these guys either further up the win column? Sure, but no one was picking the Hawks to win low 40's in wins because of Mike Woodson. They did because they did not think this collection of players could win more that. Mike Woodson made it so. He has every year.
Hats off to him.