It is official. The New York Knicks have signed Tom Thibodeau to replace interim head coach Mike Miller and lead the young Knicks roster to the Promised Land. Problem is, he is a retread coach that is safe, boring and potentially destructive to the development of prospects like Mitch Robinson and RJ Barrett.
The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
This is going to be an attempt to glass half full this lazy signing. Thibs has a 352-246 win-loss record which is astronomically better than the 5 previous coaches that the Knicks have had in the last five years. Thibs has 8 years of head coaching experience and went to the playoffs 6 times. He’s the most accomplished coach option that was available. So that’s cool or whatever.
One of his big problems in Minnesota was that the team also hired him to run the front office which literally never works. A head coach’s job is to focus on winning with the pieces he has and the GM’s role is to think about the future of the organization and focus on the draft and free agency. That’s far too much responsibility for one person.
During his time in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau was known for being a defensive specialist but after a year off between Chicago and Minnesota, Thibs came back and attempted the same defensive schemes that worked in 2012. It is an entirely new NBA and the league caught up with his strategies.
In the 2017-18 campaign with the Timberwolves, the team snuck into the playoffs as the 8th seed but had the 27th ranked defensive rating. Surprisingly though, Minnesota finished 4th in offensive rating which is a bit deceiving.
A team with Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns is supposed to be a top offense. What’s alarming is that that same top offense finished dead last in 3-point attempts. The Knicks are bringing in Tom Thibodeau to play a style of offense that was popular in the 90’s and only works in the modern NBA when you have Jimmy Butler and KAT.
Successful teams play with pace and space. That Timberwolves team had no spacing and ranked 24th in pace. Trying not to get angry. Staying positive. This is a good hire. It’s better than Jason Kidd who would’ve kidnapped James Dolan’s kazoos in an attempt to become the team president after his first two-game win streak.
Thibs is also known for running his players to the ground as he is often blamed for Derrick Rose’s career-altering knee injuries. He also almost killed Luol Deng which isn’t great.
Those 2018 Timberwolves had 3 players in the Top 13 of minutes per game and 5 in the top 40. No other team came even close to the number of minutes that Thibs put on his starting 5. *whispers* it’s almost as if their offensive rating was so high because their starters always stayed in against the opposing team’s bench players.
There’s going to be a counter-argument that the Knicks are young so they can handle the minutes. We all know 22-year old’s bodies are impervious to injury and there is no way that more wear and tear on RJ Barrett’s legs is potentially harmful long term.
It is important to note that Mitch Robinson had the highest field goal percentage in NBA history this season and only played 23 minutes a night. The Knicks are a better team when he’s on the floor and he’s never on the floor. Perhaps Thibs can unlock a new level of Robinson’s game. Look how half full this glass is again.
Ultimately the Knicks hired a guy who is a defensive specialist even though the last time he coached, his team had one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
The Knicks are finally building a modern front office and was finally about to have a modern team and hired a guy who ranked 24th in pace and dead last in 3-point attempts. The opposite of modern.
We’re in the load management era where organizations have learned how to preserve their players over the length of a season and Thibs’s players lead the league in minutes. The Knicks hired a win-now head coach and they have one of the youngest teams in the league.
What the fuck. The glass is empty.