Mike Woodson vs Josh Smith

by March 09, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

Both men say their latest misunderstanding is a thing of the past, and it could very well be, but that doesn’t stop some from wondering aloud how much longer this player/coach pairing can last in the A.

Some of those doing the wondering are folks in the local media, and the blame is being laid at Woodson’s feet.

From the AJC:

Sixty-two games into the season, Mike Woodson and Josh Smith got into another spat the other night. We have watched this for five years. If their relationship were any more dysfunctional, they would be in the ownership group. This is March, not November. The playoffs start in six weeks. This is when NBA coaches are supposed to be finalizing rotations and good teams should be coming together. This generally is not when a head coach spontaneously combusts at halftime and benches one of his best, even if impetuous, players for the next two quarters.

They both arrived here in 2004. It hasn’t been a marriage. It’s been a pie fight. One of two things happened Friday night in Charlotte: Either Smith committed a violation so egregious late in the first half that Woodson felt the player had undercut his authority and was ripping the team apart. Or Woodson overreacted to something, anything, a noise in the ventilation shaft. I lean toward the latter.

Depending on what happens with the Hawks this season (they’re currently holding down the fourth Playoff spot in the East), should Woodson and Smith go at it again, it may be time for others — say, management — to reeveluate whether this marriage can truly work.

And should it come to that, it’s not exactly hard to guess who’d get booted out of the house.