Atlanta Hawks: Mike Woodson, Larry Drew not on speaking terms

Mike Woodson obviously wasn’t happy when the Hawks didn’t bring him back as head coach in 2010. But it sounds as if time and perspective, including his new job as head coach of the Knicks, have softened the hard feelings Woodson once had for the organization.

“I’ve grown in the 22 months,” Woodson said. “There’s not a day I don’t think about ownership here giving me an opportunity to coach a team for six years, because that doesn’t happen very often. I’d like to think the guys I did coach got better and our team got better. That’s what coaching is all about to me.”

Woody has never been one for PC so you can assume he’s being sincere. And that’s why it’s telling that he went out of his way to express gratitude for Hawks owners while staying silent on the topic of Larry Drew, his former-assistant-turned-successor as Hawks coach.

“We haven’t talked,” Woodson said. “I just want to talk about basketball. Let’s keep it that way.”

Drew confirmed that the two haven’t talked since Woodson left, and it’s not hard to figure why.

To get his first head-coaching job, Drew had to convince Hawks owners that he would do things differently than Woodson. Drew also told the owners he had ideas that Woodson never implemented–ideas that the owners also favored.

You can see why that might lead Woody to think his old friend and former teammate turned on him. But the bigger problem, according to Woody confidants, is that Woody believes Drew was making his case to be head coach with the team’s owners while Woody still had the job.

So there’s no longer a relationship between Drew and Woodson. By the end of his Hawks tenure, Woody also wasn’t getting along well with Rick Sund or the team’s owners. But he says, in the final analysis, his time as Hawks coach was a positive experience.

“It was a great experience,” Woodson said. “You stick around for six years, and you start to wonder can it happen for six more years. Realistically, that just doesn’t happen in our profession. It was tough walking away because I didn’t get to finish the job I started.

“But, hey, it’s part of the business. You learn and grow with it. I’ve moved on. It was a great run. I’m in New York now and I’m happy and excited about the guys I’m coaching.”

Woody still keeps in touch with some of his former Hawks players, including Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. He says he believes Josh was snubbed for the All-Star team the past two years and looked forward to giving Joe “a big hug” because Joe didn’t make the trip to New York when the Hawks played there last month.

New York media queried Josh on his relationship with Woody, who still maintains that Josh “probably caught more hell than any player I ever coached.”

“He definitely pushed me as a young player,” Josh said. “He saw something in me I may not have saw in myself. Now, as a veteran in this league, I appreciate all of the things I endured as a young player. Now my work ethic is unbelievable and it’s a testament to the work and the adversity I had as a young player.”

Someone asked Josh about his “run-ins” with Woody but he brushed it off.

“Every player has his fair share of run-ins with the coach,” he said. “I think it was magnified more so than other players. For what reasons, I don’t know. It’s not like this is a big market. It wasn’t something to be magnified because it wasn’t really that serious. We are still good friends, I still want the best for him, he still wants the best for me. We still communicate.”

Woody was a Knicks assistant when the Hawks were in New York. Now he will be in the head chair and Josh admits it will be “kind of odd” to see his old coach on the other side at Philips Arena.

“I gave him a call when he got the [interim] job and told him ‘Congratulations,’ and I know he’s going to do good things for the organization,” Josh said. “Right now, it’s telling it all.”

The Knicks are 8-1 with Woodson as head coach, a run that includes Ws against the Sixers, Magic and Pacers.

Josh figures a W tonight would mean more to Woody.

“Aw, man,” he said, chuckling. “He may not say it but he definitely wants this win, in this arena.”

Not surprisingly, Woodson said defense has been the key to New York’s resurgence. The Knicks have actually been solid defensively all season but, after some slippage during Mike D’Antoni’s final days, they’ve been even better under Woody.

Woodson is getting a prime opportunity to restart his coaching career after he sat out the 2010-11 season. He says he only went to one NBA game during that time (Spurs at Pacers). Woody says he watched a lot of NBA games and college games on television and even took in a few high school games in the Atlanta area, where he still owns a home.

“It just gives you a chance to reflect back on what you did and how you can change things and be better,” Woody said of the year off from coaching. “That’s kind of where I am today.”

Woody was asked what impression he thinks he left on players during his Hawks tenure.

“I’d like to think and hope they had fun, number one, playing for me, and respect what I did as a coach,” he said. “I tried to be honest and fair and teach those guys to play at a high level.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

89 comments Add your comment

CP

March 30th, 2012
2:17 pm

ok, first. now woody, welcome back, but go home without a W.

hung low

March 30th, 2012
2:18 pm

hung low

March 30th, 2012
2:19 pm

Good Article MC. It does seem strange that Drew and Woodson have not spoken since his departure. Woodson might not have been the perfect coach for the Hawks, but he did a good job of improving the level of play. I hope the Hawks win big!

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
2:26 pm

If thats the case, their not talking?

Woody is going for the JUGULAR!!!!!

OH the Humanity….

prison mike

March 30th, 2012
2:27 pm

“He says he believes Josh was snubbed for the All-Star team the past two years”.

This clock sucker probably was the main one smearing Josh’s name among coaches.

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
2:31 pm

“To get his first head-coaching job, Drew had to convince Hawks owners that he would do things differently than Woodson. Drew also told the owners he had ideas that Woodson never implemented–ideas that the owners also favored.

You can see why that might lead Woody to think his old friend and former teammate turned on him. But the bigger problem, according to Woody confidants, is that Woody believes Drew was making his case to be head coach with the team’s owners while Woody still had the job.”

Oh its very personal now! TNT knows Drama! lol

Woody is going to try to dismantle Larry!

doc

March 30th, 2012
2:32 pm

imagine that.

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
2:32 pm

The Ides of March, Brutus you too?

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
2:39 pm

And then Larry disparages his teammate and friend of over 30 years to the media?

I hope Woody kicks his azz…lol

Admiral Snackbar

March 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

CAREFUL LD

IT’S A TRAP!!!

Melvin

March 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

I hope the Hawks whip the Knicks and Woody azz tonight.

doc

March 30th, 2012
2:43 pm

welcome back to woody and ill stand and applaud a good man.

like i said last week when this was broached just by saying what drew said publicly he drove a knife in woody’s back and a wedge in their relationship. just the same if woody were being realistic and really looking to learn larry was only saying what everyone else was saying about his coaching style and where he was flailing. if he could have seen it and said it he probably could have stuck around but woody is pretty stubborn by what i saw and a very proud man and maybe too proud in this one especially if he blames larry.

maybe being no longer “the rook” coach he will achieve a high level and he may well make the organization regret firing him just as ted turner regretted firing bobby cox the first time to hire him back later.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 30th, 2012
2:45 pm

Good guy, bad coach.

Get that W LD.

If all else fails, tell Teague to intentionally run into Woody when he steps over the sideline and draw a technical foul on him.

Rev in Tampa

March 30th, 2012
2:50 pm

“Josh admits it will be “kind of odd” to see his old coach on the other side at Philips Arena.”

http://t.co/zJzZ4HNE

Melvin

March 30th, 2012
2:55 pm

Najeh,
I still remember when Kidd ran into Woody on the court. Very funny but embarrassing for Hawks fans.

Doc,
Most coaches are stubborn. They believe in their system (or style) and willing to lose or get fired by it. Then turn around and blame it on others. That’s how the profession goes. I know many of coaches on different levels and in different sports. Most have that same stubborn/know it all traits. My best friend is a head football coach, you can’t tell him his game plan/strategy sucks, no matter how badly they lost…

Najeh Davenpoop

March 30th, 2012
3:00 pm

FTPB

“As illustrated, the DEF EFF ranking isn’t telling the true story of a team for a variety of reasons such as Strength of Schedule Ranking and performance against sub-par teams vs. performance against elite/good teams. It’s only showing the average DEF EFF ranking against all teams played to date”

So are you trying to say that the ‘09-’10 Hawks didn’t see their defensive efficiency fluctuate depending on whether they played good teams or bad teams?

What you are saying is true of every stat. Nearly every team is going to put up better stats and better winning percentages against bad teams than good teams.

“the Hawks Strength of Schedule 2009-2010 under Woodson was ranked 16th vs. 2011-2012 Schedule under LD is ranked 19th. ”

The Hawks’ strength of schedule this year so far is .498. The Hawks’ strength of schedule in ‘09-’10 was .498.

Strength of schedule differences are negligible when you get toward the end of the season, because everyone has played everyone, unless you are in an extraordinarily strong or weak division. This year, for example, the New Orleans Hornets have the toughest strength of schedule because everyone else in their division is over .500. Good teams in weak divisions will have inflated winning percentages and good teams in bad divisions will have depressed winning percentages.

For comparison’s sake, the Hawks’ strength of schedule one week ago was somewhere around .510, which was in the top 10 of the league. A few games against the Cavs and Wizards dropped them to 19th. That’s how little difference there is between strengths of schedule at this point in the season.

In any case, since we are talking about defensive efficiency, it makes more sense to look at opponents’ offensive efficiency rather than opponents’ won-loss record. Below .500 teams with high offensive efficiency ratings (like Utah and Portland) are more likely to dent your defensive efficiency than above .500 teams with low offensive efficiency ratings (like Dallas or Boston).

Najeh Davenpoop

March 30th, 2012
3:02 pm

I just think it’s hard to credit a coach with instilling good defensive fundamentals when it took him SIX GAMES in a playoff series to realize that defending the opposing point guard with your center is not a good idea.

Guido

March 30th, 2012
3:04 pm

This is must see TV!!!!!!

doc

March 30th, 2012
3:06 pm

melvin agreed and why his hate on lary beyond what he said to hurt his feelings is misplaced and why would he damn a friend for getting his own shot, it isnt like woody wasnt paid a heck of a lot more than larry was. he was paid well and on a scale that has been cut back unless you are the best.

dont take me wrong i want woody to feel like a loser tonight.

i still hate the idea that woody who never learned to stand somewhere other than on the court los us a game. should have been 54 that year and it went downhill after that loss that year. woody sucks. heh heh

Rod from College Park

March 30th, 2012
3:09 pm

doc,

This story sounds familiar huh. LOL. Why don’t you ask MC the dates and how and why this happened, since you did not believe what I said almost two weeks ago.

Guido

March 30th, 2012
3:09 pm

MC, Good article apologies for the “Fire MC” comment. Kind of lame

tom

March 30th, 2012
3:13 pm

well LD does have 2 wins in the second round

jay

March 30th, 2012
3:14 pm

Let’s see here, we had one play under Woody which was Iso Joe and he’s upset at Drew for trying to get the head coaching job? Seriously?!?! This entire town wanted you gone man. Get over it.

Grandad

March 30th, 2012
3:15 pm

Coach Knight…..er…I mean Woodson
is running a mind game on Joe and Josh.

Wdsn:
‘`I tried to be honest and fair and teach those guys to play at a high level`’

*Honest – check
*Fair – ask Teague
*Play @ a high level:
all too often they mailed in games for reasons unbeknownst to real pros
-&-
the final series -vs- ORL
_____________________________________________

Honestly;
they should have been a good team [LD & Wdsn];
Wdsn = defense + hard ass
Uncle Larry = offensive coordinator
* also if Wdsn would have accepted LD`s advice from time to time;
r e, preparation & adjustments ?

Oh Well … ? … – Que Sera Sera -

jay

March 30th, 2012
3:16 pm

@Najeh, You hit it on the head. This dumb arse had Brandon Jennings looking like the next coming of Isaih by putting Al Holford on him at the three point line. And he was a so called defensive guru. Hello, stop the freaking switching. Mix it up with some traps, man to man, etc. One thing LD does is swich it up. It’s common sense stuff like this that got dude fired.

jay

March 30th, 2012
3:18 pm

@Grandad, also ask Stoudemire. How can a kid be that pure of a shooter and see the bench so much. He never developed the young point guards and it set this team back.

Michael Cunningham

March 30th, 2012
3:19 pm

@Guido: “MC, Good article apologies for the “Fire MC” comment. Kind of lame”

do i get severance?

Grandad

March 30th, 2012
3:21 pm

By the Way:

I tend to side with Mr Wdsn;
based on the info provided by MC.

*’`Loyalty`’*

Durned if I don`t consider that # 1 in Importance !

please

March 30th, 2012
3:23 pm

Doc
It has nothing to do with the job of coaching it has everything to do with friendship. Woody and Drew had been friends for years. He made sure Drew had a job, and Larry stabbed Woody in the back. Win or loose tonight Woody can sleep at night knowing that he was a friend to Larry. I can’t say the same for Drew. When basketball is over you still have to have you morals, because basketball can’t love you, but your friends are suppose to

doc

March 30th, 2012
3:26 pm

i hear ya rod and i really thought better of woody that that. if he really has to blame it on somebody couldnt hear anything of those around him and how important it was t beat the magic and certainly not get blown out by 25 a night, then a little guy is the one he can blame it on. ha! as i said last week i am sad for him.

in this organization, as we saw in the belkin affair, i guess anything is possible. even a weasely assistant coach coming in and saying with a few weeks left in the year ill be your coach for 20% of what you pay him and guarantee ill get you a victory over those big bad magic we may or may not play in the first round and maybe one or two wins in the second, really? that is what woody thinks? perfect, he is a real fool and glad we are going to watch him win or lose tonight coaching the other side.

the problem for woody and his theory is the time scenario isnt quite right and his team didnt live up to expectations but there are bruti’s everywhere as well as paranoid coaches.

NUNNA!!

March 30th, 2012
3:27 pm

Ask Teague,Salim,Morris and others if Woody tried to make them better..
M.C.,Good seeing ya..Well,seeing you type lol..
But i got one question for u and all on here.
If Woody was the coach of the knicks at the beginning of this season do anyone really think that Lin would have gotten any playing time,with bibby on the bench?

jay

March 30th, 2012
3:27 pm

@please…I’m pretty sure Larry Drew could have gotten a job without Mike Woodson and I’m sure he didn’t come to work for Woodson just to have all his suggestion ignored. Larry Drew has been in the league a long time.

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
3:27 pm

3 major reasons why Larry did beat Orlando in the 1st round:

Mickael Pietrus- gone- Check ( Harass JC1)
Matt Barnes- gone- Check (iso shutdown artist)
Marcin Gortat- gone -Check ( Make ZaZa irrelevant)

Orlando’s subtraction became Lucky Larry’s addition Grasshopper….. Hmmm

Collins, yea right……

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2012
3:32 pm

If the guys who were in the trenches with him are okay with Woody (i.e. Josh & Joe), then that speaks volumes to me.

doc

March 30th, 2012
3:32 pm

loudly i renounce and say i hate the basg for hiring larry. it was a bad decision on many fronts and set the organization back a few years but there are only so many second round draft choices you can sell. sad, they didnt think of the upside to getting fan commitment by hiring a real coach and really saying to the community we are going to be the best at what we do and this hiring is one more of our commitments to that. instead that year they hire a rook and piss off another segment of crossover fan by selling hockey out send tax moneys flying and add on a restaurant for folks that dont show up in the seats and even as a season ticket holder i have never received any incentive to go use it so it must be filled. do they have a marketing department?

basg …. double suck man.

Rod from College Park

March 30th, 2012
3:33 pm

Slimjr,

Those reasons you named plau Jamal Crawford was unstoppable against Orlando. Van Gundy even said that the hardest guy for them to stop was Jamal. Not the 20 million dollar man, but Jamal.

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2012
3:38 pm

And if there were a way for Woody to beat LD’s butt without beating the Hawks, I’d be all for it. But I don’t ever want an opposing team to the beat the Hawks… but I do admire Woody for being a man’s man who was determined to teach these young players more than just basketball while also guiding this team from pitiful to their current standard.

And nice to hear Josh show some appreciation for what Woody was trying to teach him earlier in his career.

In a perfect world, neither Woody or LD would have been coaching the Hawks after June, 2010. They both needed to go in favor of a clear and definitive upgrade.

Rod from College Park

March 30th, 2012
3:40 pm

doc,

No issues, I just don’t want the regulars to think that I would post a bunch of rhetoric. If I post my opinion, I’ll say that, but if I post info from a source it’s usually pretty tight. Maybe I should become one of these so called insiders, and make some money off some of this inside info I have.

Eric

March 30th, 2012
3:41 pm

Uncle Woody’s return to the A. I was never a fan of Woody, he never developed young players(Jeff Teague), he never adjusted during games(stubborn), and everybody keeps mentioning him as some kind of defensive guru but the Hawks are ranked higher defensively than they have ever been under Woody this year, and he never benched Marvin.

doc

March 30th, 2012
3:45 pm

PLEASE, you got it real wrong, larry had job he interviewed for while under contract, with the hawks. then after being given that opportunity to apply and interview, then be offered the job, they said no he couldnt go. yeah crazy sh!t in the bash household. some say here and eslewhere including sacramento papers, it wasnt billy knight who got in the way of larry drew going but woody himself.

now, aint that some sh!t!!! then being mad ld went and wanted a job he had lost fair and square as we all witnessed and i paid money for. man, aint that a bigger pile? morals, woody, where?

PLEASE, no if anything woody took a job away from ld and kept him from going to sacramento to being closer to his family and no woody did not give him a job only it seems was not happy when his friend got a job even if it was his. yeah, it is sticky but woody certainly cant be said to have given him a job. that is just the opposite and laughable. woody stayed in his way it seems always then holds him for getting a job he vacated. puhlease, please.

please, also stick to your real blog tag or move along unless you are a weak little troll that changes names or bounces around blogs, bloggers dont.

Dr. Warren

March 30th, 2012
3:45 pm

Interesting how Josh Smith calls his hometown, the 7th largest TV market in America, a “small market.” That combined with his kissing up to Woody (who he used to give a very hard time) makes me wonder if NY is where he wants to be traded.

Dr. Warren

March 30th, 2012
3:47 pm

NY is, after all, the #1 market and I guess Atlanta would be considered small in comparison to that one.

Slimjr

March 30th, 2012
3:50 pm

@rod, cosign Sir….

@Dr. Warren…. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? New York New York?

Those NY fans would light up Josh for sure…lol

Mike

March 30th, 2012
3:51 pm

The Knicks have already talked to Jerry Sloan about coaching this team next year, Woody won’t be the coach. They’ll find out more about Woody sooner or later, when this team loses control and Woody’s sitting on the bench with his hand on his chin.

Dr. Warren

March 30th, 2012
3:53 pm

Maybe Josh also feels being in NY would give him the cache to finally make an all-star team.

doc

March 30th, 2012
3:58 pm

rod you know i got respect for you and meant nothing personal by the comments and tried to clarify maybe those folks were not in the know or if they were, it was sad on woody.

was the organization loyal to ld? was woody loyal to ld by getting in the way if he did or not stick up for his friend and say thanks and go to sacramento and insist the organization let him go if they had given him permission to interview? would a true friend do that rather than stand in his way? did they tell him a promise if he stayed? didnt bk try to replace woody with ld? didnt the basg go through a process of interviews to only hire ld in the end?

aj, hit the mail on the head and to what really sticks hard in the craw of hawks fans:

“In a perfect world, neither Woody or LD would have been coaching the Hawks after June, 2010. They both needed to go in favor of a clear and definitive upgrade.”

amen to that bro.

They took rrr jobs

March 30th, 2012
3:59 pm

Woodson should be happy he’s not in Atlanta anymore….we are.
Drew your next.
BRING BACK HUBIE

Waffle Jouse or Bust

March 30th, 2012
4:01 pm

Hoping the Knicks help knock us out of playoffs or to eight spot so we can get this season over with. Lose Drew and breakup this team that peaked in 2007 against the Celtics.

Time for change (real change). Not signing has beens for the bench but something that shows Hawks fans owners are serious about winning. Because I get the feeling they are happy to just get in the playoffs.

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2012
4:08 pm

doc, I would be interested in knowing if the owners had developed their own set of anti-Woody ideas 9that LD aligned with) or if LD helped them develop those ideas. Either LD helped plant some of those seeds, altered his interviewing philosophy to match the owners’ desires or perhaps they were in fact magically aligned from jump. IMO, LD said what he needed to say in the interview. Is the offense as much of a 5-man attack as we were sold? What happened to all of the talk about accountability? Josh being positioned close to the basket? Heck, even the Teague hype was way overblown for most of the regular season during LD’s first year (after employing Teague during the job interview).

When I compare the character (from a few thousand feet away) of these two guys, it is very, very hard for me to respect LD like I grew to respect Woody. Woody took those guys to visit David Robinson’s school in San Antonio as a model for what basketball players can do after their careers, he had Andy Young come speak to them about the Civil Rights movement, he had them visit other important historical sights throughout the country. It wasn’t just about the 94 feet of the basketball court with WOody.

Woody (and LD) are among the 80%+ of head coaches that won’t win a championship. But I think Woody is a class guy and for that, I would applaud his return if I were in attendance tonight.

jwmoney12

March 30th, 2012
4:08 pm

I hope the knicks blow the hawks out we know there will be more knick fans in the house tonite.Do jeff and joe ever talk on the court no emotion just like their coach.