New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's resignation on Wednesday sent shockwaves through the sports world and will likely have a major impact on how the Knicks perform for the remainder of the season.
Rumors have swirled for the past week that D'Antoni, in the last year of his contract, likely wouldn't stay as the Knicks coach past this year, but few expected him to resign mid-season. Pressure was clearly building on D'Antoni after the Knicks dropped six consecutive games, but it seemed to jump up a notch this last week as the drama at Madison Square Garden became too much for him to handle.
The biggest reason for D'Antoni's resignation - some have called it a mutual decision between the coach and ownership - is undoubtedly Carmelo Anthony. D'Antoni was reportedly incredibly frustrated with Anthony's refusal to follow his offense and rarely praised his star the way he doted Jeremy Lin.
It's unclear whether Anthony demanded D'Antoni to be dismissed, but the New York Post reported earlier on Wednesday that Anthony wanted to be traded unless D'Antoni was removed. It was a clear it's either me or him type scenario and the Knicks management decided to stick with their most marketable star and didn't try to stop the mustachioed coach from leaving the Big Apple.
Assistant coach Mike Woodson, a former Atlanta Hawks head coach, will take over as interim coach for the remaining 24 games. Woodson is expected to shake things up with the Knicks and one player that could see his role drastically change is Jeremy Lin.
All of the attention around Lin -- better known as Linsanity -- energized the Knicks fan base and took the nation by storm in February. Lin certainly had his flaws -- turnovers being chief among them -- but created millions of fans around the world with his impressive ability to get to the basket and put up points.
The Knicks ripped off an eight-game win streak with Lin at the helm, but have lost eight out of their last 10 games since Carmelo Anthony returned from his injury. The Knicks looked disjointed, uninterested in running D'Antoni's offense, and ultimately frustrated at the way they were playing.
Expect some of that to change under Woodson. The defensive-minded coach will likely stress defense and avoid the fast-paced offense that D'Antoni preferred. He also will likely run more isolation plays for star players like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
That could mean that the days of the offense primarily being run through Lin are over. D'Antoni was a huge fan of Lin and publicly praised him at every opportunity he could. Lin wasn't perfect in D'Antoni's eyes, but somewhat fit his vision of a playmaking point guard that runs the whole offense - similar to what D'Antoni did with Steve Nash in Phoenix.
It's doubtful that Woodson will give as much freedom to Lin and could instead try to reign him in a bit in order to placate the concerns of Anthony and Stoudemire. It also wouldn't be a shock, according to the Daily News' Frank Isola, for backup point guard Baron Davis to get more playing time.
Davis has struggled a bit since he joined the Knicks this season, but is likely more willing to defer to Anthony than Lin is. He also is a bit more adept -- though not much more -- at defense than Lin. Lin tries at defense, but against most guards he is a complete defensive liability. That inability to defend isn't going to fly with a coach like Woodson.
The first major test will come on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. It will be Woodson's first opportunity to run the team the way he would like and mix in some different lineup rotations.
Don't expect Lin to see his playing time completely plummet -- he is still far too likable to work himself out of the playing rotation -- but also don't expect him to be the focal point of the offense like he was under D'Antoni.