Tom Thibodeau changing his ways for the New York Knicks gig?

New York Knicks head coaching candidate is learning from his old coaching woes. Tom Thibodeau’s stint in Minnesota had it’s ups and downs.  So he may be changing his ways for his next job.

Thibs did take the Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance since 2004.  However, the big take away was working his younger players to hard.  The Knicks could use that, certain players more than others.

Thibs was on “The Woj Pod” talking about talking what he needs to do at his next stop.  “The way everyone’s managing with load management and where your team is, sports scientists, so it’s different.  And if your team is young and you’re in a rebuild, you’re probably practicing more than an older veteran team,” Thibs said.  The Knicks are certainly rebuilding so that’s a start.

For Thibs to be the next head coach of the Knicks, developing the youth is a must.  He had a tough time with that in Minnesota but was still able to make the playoffs.  However, developing the youth the proper way would’ve gave him more years there.  And not running the younger guys into the ground.

The Knicks could use this new Thibs.  It could be different this time around if he wants to be a coach longer than 2 and a half seasons.

The guy the Knicks really need to Target is Kenny Atkinson.  He developed the youth in Brooklyn very well.  He took average players and made them into playoff contenders.  That was before Durant and Irving arrived too.

Whoever the New York Knicks hire, drafting the right players and developing them needs to be the main focus.

New York Knicks superfan also getting on fans nerves

New York Knicks superfan is heading into murky waters.  Spike Lee went onto ESPNs First Take and had a low-key diss towards the franchise.  Is Lee entering Charles Oakley territory with the fan base being fed up with him too?

Lee has had his fair share of arguments with fans and players. He’s even recently had a dispute with the Knicks owner about what entrance to use. That whole situation shouldn’t have been a thing. It was blown way out of proportion.

However, that evil laugh that Lee let out about players coming to the Knicks was ridiculous.

First off, we all know Michael Jordan wasn’t coming to the Knicks. He wasn’t going anywhere but Chicago. But to hint at that New York was not a desirable destination in the 90s is wrong.

During that time, Dolan didn’t own the team. The Knicks had a franchise center in Patrick Ewing, great pieces around him and great coach. The Knicks were a desirable location for players.

But with Lee laughing about how players don’t want to come to the Knicks now is unlike him. It’s unlike him to take jabs at his team. The grudge between him and the owner is enough already. How old are we? Let it go and start to embrace the new culture Leon Rose is trying to put in place.

We all know that, currently, the Knicks are an undesirable destination. But the new regime is trying to change that and the culture. Rose is putting together a nice front office to make good quality players want to play for the Knicks.

Lee is continuing to let his frustrations with Dolan spew into the media. He’s beginning to make fans unlike him similar to Oakley. Whenever he opens his mouth it’s only negativity towards the franchise. This is not good for the New York Knicks as they’re trying to turn organization around.

Charles Oakley continues to go at a New York Knicks legend for no reason

Charles Oakley continues to make the New York Knicks look bad.  He‘s still going at Patrick Ewing for absolutely no reason.

On Barstool radio, Oakley talked about the stats Ewing should’ve had since he was giving him the ball.  He continued to slander Ewing, trying to make something out of nothing. Listen Oak, you were a great Knick.  Now, you’re ruining everything you had with the Knicks organization.

Oakley is probably diverting all of his anger from the Dolan situation onto Ewing.  This is ridiculous and completely uncalled for.  The Knicks wouldn’t have been where they were to compete in the 90s if it wasn’t for Ewing.  Yes, Oakley played a giant roll, as an enforcer, which was great.  But these days he’s tarnishing everything he once stood for.

Oakley as all Knicks fans wishing that he would just ‘shut the (beep) up’.  Like seriously, the attention that he wants is sickening.  What does Oakley think he was going to do? Be the main guy scoring?  In his best season with the Knicks, 1989-90, he averaged 14.6 points per.  That ain’t cutting it to be the main guy.  He was the rebounder and enforcer.

Some may believe that Oakley might have a point and Ewing did need him.  However, Ewing was the driving force of the Knicks.  He’s a New York legend.  And Oakley had a great reputation with the team, key word had.  If Oakley thought he was more as a player then he should’ve stepped up at the time.  Why bring up your thoughts about the team 30 years after the fact? It’s to bring more attention to yourself.

Those 90s Knicks were the iconic and the most fun the organization has had in decades.  Oakley is trying to tarnish that legacy for his own personal gain.  However, in his mind, he may think he’s right but most of the New York Knicks fan base is sick of his antics.

New York Knicks even thinking of trading RJ Barrett is such click-bait

A few days ago, SNYs Ian Begley entered the click-bait arena for the New York Knicks.  Begley suggested the notion of trading RJ Barrett.

He wondered about the possibility of the Knicks trading Barrett for Victor Oladipo.

Begley is one of the best, if not the best, Knicks reporters.  He’s reliable, credible and brings down-to-earth updates.  This report is click-bait but in this time without sports we’ll let this one slide.

As for the actual possibility of trading Barrett, that shouldn’t even be a thought.  Him and Mitchell Robinson are untouchable.  Those two are the Knicks building blocks for the foreseeable future.

Oladipo is coming off a major injury.  The Knicks have had their fair share of taking a chance on players after major injuries.  Oladipo might not be the player he was before the injury even with all these new medical advances.  Maybe if he was fully healthy?  But even then, Barrett is a future all-star, and again a building block for the future, he can’t be traded.

Everyone has a click-bait report from time-to-time.  We’ve all done it.  Times are tough and writers/reporters will try to do anything to keep us all sane without sports.  No matter how off the wall or click-bait worthy it may be.  We all gotta keep the New York Knicks content rolling no matter what.  It’s what we do.

With The Knicks Potentially Aiming To Draft A PG, What Roles Does That Leave Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina?

New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton

It’s a strange time for NBA fans.  Ever since basketball was abruptly put on halt for roughly two months, so many big questions have yet to be answered regarding not only the season finale, but also the NBA Draft.  With both the draft lottery and combine postponed earlier this month, it’s still unclear when Commissioner Adam Silver will choose to restart the season and schedule the draft.  Despite leaving NBA fans in limbo, this extra time does grant teams like the New York Knicks, the opportunity to reevaluate their first-round pick options and further scout the next generational talent to invest in.  It’s become quite clear that the Knicks desperately need an elite point guard who’s not only a natural scorer but also a playmaker.  With appealing options like LaMelo Ball, Cole Anthony and Tyrese Haliburton up for grabs, this draft is really important and has the potential to transform the Knicks into a better team next season.

However, if the Knicks do decide to select a point guard, they would have four on their active roster, not leaving a lot of minutes to go around for everyone.  The Knicks still have Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina, all young point guards that individually bring a very different range of skills to the table.  Smith Jr. possesses an array of scoring weapons and good court vision, allowing him to choose between sniping a shot from behind the arc or finding the open man in the paint.  Payton on the other hand, has always been a pass-first point guard with the complimentary ability of being able to do a little bit of everything, be it grabbing rebounds to bagging steals or sinking close-range shots.  And then there’s Ntilikina with his big 6’4” frame, who brings creativity, strong defense around the perimeter, and can score from anywhere on the floor.

This presents the Knicks with plenty of versatility and a young, talented group of point guards that provides a lot of depth in their backcourt.  But because they are all still quite young (Smith Jr. is 22, Payton is 26, and Ntilikina is 21), they all need playing time and a lot of it to capitalize on their potential (ESPN).  Furthermore, if the Knicks wind up going after phenom talents like Ball or Anthony in the draft, one of these other three point guards won’t have the opportunity to play and put their skills to good use.  As a result, the Knicks need to establish what roles and system they want in place for their new-look franchise that will not only make for the best fit with their first-round picks, but will also be cost-efficient at the same time.  And unfortunately, having three backup point guards simply does not meet the criteria.

Since the Knicks need an offensively-gifted scorer and playmaker at the helm of their lineup, the smartest decision would be to trade Smith Jr. and hold onto Payton and Ntilikina.  First and foremost, Smith Jr. has not had an easy transition ever since the Knicks traded for him during the 2018-19 season.  After an impressive showing in 21 games for the Knicks last season, dropping 14.7 ppg, with 5.4 apg and 1.3 spg, a handful of nagging injuries got the best of Smith this season, limiting him to only 34 games played on the year (ESPN).  In addition, out of those 34 games, he only started 3 of them, frequently losing out on starts to Payton or Ntilikina (ESPN).  Moreover, Smith Jr.’s playing style doesn’t complement the new point guard role the Knicks are in need for.  Smith Jr.’s best skill, even during his time at NC State, is scoring the ball and making plays for his team, and that’s a backup role the Knicks don’t need if they draft Ball or Anthony (ESPN).  Even if the Knicks want him to stay, Smith Jr. won’t capitalize on his potential if he gets 15 minutes a game or less.  As was evident last season and during his time with the Dallas Mavericks, Smith Jr. requires a lot of playing time to be effective and that’s something the Knicks won’t grant him with both Payton and Ntilikina in the mix as well (ESPN).  The harsh reality here is that if the Knicks wanted to make him their new starting point guard, they would have done so a long time ago.  And after seeing how he was handled this season, the Knicks lack of interest to invest in him as a key part of their lineup, became abundantly clear.  As a result, it’s only fair to trade him to a team that will actually benefit from his skillset and in return, allow the Knicks to get something of value, be it draft picks or a different bench player.

That being said, the Knicks did choose to invest in both Payton and Ntilikina, and for good reason.  Unlike Smith Jr., Payton is a facilitator; he’s a point guard that sees the floor quite well and uses that skill to maximize his role as a passer.  Just to give you an idea, Payton’s assists per game has risen steadily almost every year, averaging over seven per game during the last two seasons after only putting up six plus for the previous four (ESPN).  Having a facilitator like Payton coming off the bench, is an important role that complements the scoring dominance that Ball or Anthony would bring along with RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.  Furthermore, Payton has been in the league for six years now, possessing experience that is really helpful to have around such a young group of point guards (ESPN).  His insight and skill with passing the rock, is something that both Ball and Anthony could learn from and cultivate under his guidance.  Although this might not be the most glamorous role, Payton makes for a great fit with the Knicks and in his first season with them, showed why he’s a valuable asset.

With Ntilikina, the Knicks have found something quite special.  At only 21 years old, Ntilikina has displayed excellent upside.  Since the Knicks drafted him in 2017-18, Ntilikina has gradually improved and had his best season to date this year, posting career high averages in points, steals, free throw and field goal percentage, as well as 3-pt shooting (ESPN).  The kid is as complete as it gets for his age, carrying good ball-handling skills and court vision with the strength to post up or slash inside the paint at will.  His shot has gotten much better and so has his confidence, allowing him to score with ease all over the floor.  But what remains to be the cherry on top for Ntilikina, is that his talent can adapt to any type of player the Knicks decide to draft.  Not only can he be another backup point guard, but he can also play at the two as well, which he did throughout this season.  Simply put, his skillset isn’t limited to just one style of play, which is why he has made for such a good fit in New York.  With that being said, the Knicks are aware that Ntilikina may take time to mature and develop.  But the growth has been there and it really came to life this season, highlighting why he continues to be a much-needed role player for the Knicks backcourt.

When all is said and done, the Knicks have to be really calculated and smart about the future of their lineup if they ever want to be a playoff team again.  During this process, it’s very important to remember that structure is key and that to win basketball games, you need players that not only embrace their role, but who are also willing to adapt their talent for the sake of winning.  The key part to remember here is that not every player can do this; some just know how to play one way of basketball and that’s it.  And in Smith Jr.’s case, a smaller bench role doesn’t fit his specific skillset.  In addition, the Knicks just really need a player who can drop 20-25 points a game, something that hasn’t been seen at the Garden since Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis were in New York.  And their best bet to get that type of player, is by going after one of the best point guards in the draft, a starting position that they’ve tried to fill since Raymond Felton was on the team six years ago.  With enticing options in Ball, Anthony and even Haliburton, the Knicks have to figure out which role players will work best with their new standout stud in order to win games, beginning with their group of point guards.  Investing in Payton and Ntilikina was the right choice, but as a result, it’s in the Knicks best interest to move on from Smith Jr. and create room for their rookie starlet.

If possible, one trade the New York Knicks should be all-in on

Bleacher report released an interesting ‘course-changing’ trade for the New York Knicks.  It’s a trade that certainly makes sense and should have a majority of fans on board.

THE TRADE

Knicks Receive: G Devin Booker

Suns Receive: 2020 first-round pick, PF Julius Randle, G Frank Ntilikina

First off, we here at Empire Sports Media are big supporters of Ntilikina.  He has been and will continue to be one of the best defensive players for the Knicks.  Ntilikina has improved his game each season he’s been in the league.

The coaching staff and fan want him to be more aggressive offensively.  Thankfully, he brought that aggressiveness that he found playing in the FIBA World Cup to the Knicks.  It was certainly a step in the right direction for sure.

Ntilikina was a player that had Knicks fans saying ‘Who!?!’ when drafted and thought was a bust his first two years.  And while, he’s progression still hasn’t been what people thought, fans still always have faith him in.  Ntilikina is a clear fan favorite.

However, if this trade were to be serious, trading him would be a no-brainer.  If you can get an elite scorer, Booker, for a still developing point guard, you pull the trigger.  The Knicks desperately need an elite, electric scorer and who better than Booker.

As for Randle, a majority of Knicks fan want him traded anyway.  Yes, his stats are very solid but it’s the little nuances that get fans aggravated.  Maybe Phoenix would be a better fit anyway.  Smaller market with a lot less pressure similar to New Orleans.

We’ve always said the Knicks shouldn’t be trading away first-round picks anymore.  That shipped has sailed.  Even the Knicks came out and said they didn’t want to trade picks away.  However, if it’s only ONE first-round pick for Booker then you pull that trigger as quickly as possible.  But it probably wouldn’t be just one pick for a player like Booker though.

Pairing Booker with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson would certainly be a major jump in the right direction.  Barrett and Booker at the 1, 2 positions is something to really get excited about.  Those two alone can lure free agents then add in the young, beastly Robinson.  Those are 3 players that can get the New York Knicks back on track.

New York Knicks: Jeff Van Gundy ‘open’ to returning to the bench with ‘right team’

Former New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy is ‘open’ to returning to the bench.  However, it might not be with the Knicks.

Van Gundy was on Instagram Live chat with former Knicks point guard Charlie Ward.  He said, “I’m definitely open to coaching in the right spot at the right time.”  Basically everything within the organizations as to be in order for Van Gundy to accept a coaching job.  The front office, assistant coaches, have to be on the same page going forward for the future for Van Gundy to even consider that franchise.

The owner will be another factory for Van Gundy to return.  The Knicks owner has been controversial, getting himself in sticky situations that makes him and organization look bad.

Van Gundy said he had job offered over the last twelve years but he didn’t think they were “the right fit.”  While with the Knicks for seven seasons, Van Gundy was 248-172, .590 winning percentage, with the team from 1996-2001.  He led the Knicks to the NBA finals in 1998-99, ultimately losing to the San Antonio Spurs.

Van Gundy has been, by far, the Knicks best head coach in the last two decades.  His teams had some of the best talent minus the early 2010s with Carmelo Anthony and company.  He’s an excellent coach that players can relate to and play hard for.

Although, with all the distractions thanks for the Knicks owner, Van Gundy returning to New York seems unlikely.  The organization is rebuilding in every way possible.  There’s a new regime coming in with new team president Leon Rose and a new front office.  So maybe Rose can sell Van Gundy on being a focal point in the turnaround.

Van Gundy has the coaching knowledge and experience that a franchise needs in a coach.  But with how the organization currently stands, Van Gundy returning to the New York Knicks seems unlikely.

Are the New York Knicks going to take a chance on Christian Wood?

Over the past few months, the New York Knicks there are reports the team is ‘enamored’ with Christian Wood.  The Detroit Pistons big man is going to be a free-agent and could be heading to the Big Apple.  However, do the Knicks take a chance?

For what it’s worth, it seems like the Knicks are the only team that’s ‘enamored’ with Wood.  If he was already a great defender and player then he would be one of the most coveted free agents this summer.  Doesn’t seem like it, yet at least.

In his first three seasons, Wood has averaged 5.3 points per.  He had his struggles on defense when he came into the league.  But Wood has a positive upside to his game.  There have been improvements each season but nothing like people thought.  The only that’s concerning is the Knicks over-hyping a player like this.

This season Wood improved offensively averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds while playing 21 minutes per.  There’s progression in his 3-point shot as well but defense still needs work.  Staying in front of his matching and switching is the best things.  The Knicks are awful at defense already.  Makes no sense to sign someone who isn’t an above-average defender.

However, after the Pistons got rid of Andre Drummond, that was when the Knicks could’ve started to fall in love.  The only 5 games Wood played in March he might’ve jump started his big leap in the league.  Wood averaged 26.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per.  He added 4 blocks, 5 steals and shot 10-23 from beyond the arc during that stretch.  Maybe Drummond was holding Wood back?

It seems like the Knicks could be taking gamble on a player like Wood.  He could play well in a smaller market, then a team tosses big money at him and he doesn’t perform.  Wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a trap contract.

With this new regime coming in hopefully they can change the narrative of the organization.  Unless, Leon Rose has a great eye for talent and Wood can become a breakout star.  The Knicks have took chances of players in the past.  Whether those players are over-hyped or coming off an injury, it doesn’t matter.  The front office falls in love with what players could be or what a player was in the past.  Let’s hope Rose gets this one right for the New York Knicks if they’re truly ‘enamored’.

The New York Knicks can still make the playoffs in this new proposal?

If the NBA season resumes, the New York Knicks can still make the playoffs?  According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, there’s a chance, unlikely but possible.

The scenario is wild in itself.  NBA commissioner Adam Silver proposed a play-in model.  Every team who’s already out of the playoffs, like the Knicks, still have a chance.

Here’s the proposal, which apparently, all NBA are on board for.  According to Berman, ‘One instance is teams ranked nine through 12 in each conference staging a four-team single-elimination tournament.  The winner of that event gets the right to play the current No. 8 seed to get the final spot inside the formal 16-team playoff.’  Can you imagine the Knicks sneaking into the playoffs like this? This would be so Knicks too.

Despite Knicks fans getting excited of this proposal, there’s no way.  There’s no way the Knicks sneak into the playoffs, even with a short play-in tournament.

Well, technically there is.  The Magic currently hold the 8th and the Knicks have played them tough this season.  It’s the other bottom teams that the Knicks would have to worry about.

The Knicks play above-average teams, decently, tough.  It’s the teams they should beat is where they get into trouble.  The Knicks should be closer to the 8th seed then where they currently sit, 12th in the East.  They love to play down to their opponent and ultimately can’t finish close games down the stretch.

We joked about the Knicks getting hot right before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.  3-3 in March and fans thought maybe they started turning the corner after that thrilling overtime victory against the Rockets at the Garden.

However, even if this play-in model were to happen, it be tough to see the Knicks making the playoffs.  They play their worse game against the worst competition.  This scenario certainly doesn’t favor the New York Knicks.

 

 

New York Knicks: Thibs chats with First Take about his coaching career & future

The possible next head coach of the New York Knicks joined First Take last week.  Tom Thibodeau spoke about his past coaching gigs and adapting to this NBA.

Most importantly, one of the focal points was hitting on adjusting his coaching style.  If he wants to be the Knicks head coach, that’s something he’ll need to do.

The Interview

“My experience this past year in going around and visiting a number of different teams and seeing it — and it’s been evolving this way for probably the last three or four years — there’s different ways to manage practice” Thibs said, for instance.

He said, “There’s load management, there’s sports scientists, there’s situations in which your young guys are practicing a little bit more and your older vets are doing less and you’re separating the two, and you’re bringing them in toward the end of practice to do whatever needs to be done to prepare for that next game.”

Thibs continued, “So I think utilizing all the resources that you now have, understanding how to use them, how to manage that, has become critical.

He said, “I think player care, player wellness, those things are prioritized.  I think the big thing is, what does it take to be successful in the playoffs?  And if we look at that, you start the season with those things in mind and prepare for the entire season.”

It’s hard to tell if he’s switching up his approach with his next coaching stop. The Knicks can’t have Thibs running RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson into the ground.  That’s assuming he’s the Knicks head coach.

The Knicks need to make sure that Thibs style has changed for the better.  He needs to prioritize his coaching style around the development and growth of Barrett and Robinson.  The New York Knicks to make sure whoever the next hire is that they have their younger players in mind.