The New York Knicks will be leaning on some of their veteran players this upcoming season to maintain discipline. Head coach Tom Thibodeau relies on some of the older players to help guide the team’s youth, and that is exactly what he expects out of reserve center, Taj Gibson this upcoming year.
Gibson has been a productive player in the NBA for quite some time, and he signed a two-year, $10.1 million deal this past off-season with the Knicks. While the contract has an OUT after the 2021–22 season, the Knicks are still excited about what he can offer them behind Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel.
“He’s a great veteran leader. It’s like having another assistant coach out there. He just knows everything,” Thibodeau said about Gibson. “He doesn’t make mistakes, he plays hard. He can guard every position. His shooting, really he’s always been a pretty good shooter, from 15 to 17 [feet], but now he’s really comfortable shooting the 3. He’s put a lot of work into it.”
Gibson continues to impress, adding a shooting element to his game this off-season that presented itself during the Knicks’ most recent preseason win over the Detroit Pistons. Over 31 minutes, Gibson posted 21 points and nine rebounds, shooting 9-of-14 from the field and connecting on a three-point shot over two attempts.
Thibodeau commended Gibson for adding even more talents to his arsenal, which should help the team if he’s called upon.
“So I think that’s what good veterans do. They continue to add to their game and he’s done that.”
The team is hopeful that Mitchell Robinson can make an appearance during Friday’s preseason finale against the Washington Wizards, and if not, they will try to get Noel involved in his place. It is unlikely that Robinson makes a significant impact to open the year, but the team has plenty of depth at center.
Rookie Jericho Sims has shown fantastic athleticism and aggressiveness rebounding around the rim but has a lot to learn regarding defensive shape and positioning. A season with the G-League would do him well, but having so many veteran faces to learn from should benefit him tremendously.