Knicks reportedly want to add a number of player development coaches to staff

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks are a very young team, and with seven first-round draft picks over the next four years they aren’t getting any younger. Knicks president Leon Rose seems to understand the importance of player development, and according to Ian Bagley of SNY he’s making a big effort to address that department:

There is internal consideration in the organization to hire a significant number of player-development coaches for Thibodeau’s staff, per SNY sources.

To clarify, these coaches would not be replacing the assistant coaches Thibodeau would want to bring in for his staff. Instead, they’ll be hired in addition to Thibodeau’s coaches, which means that the Knicks coaching staff will be expanding.

This is a very logical and smart move by Rose and the Knicks, as the development of their young roster is critical to the team’s success both now and long-term. Thibodeau seemed to be in lockstep with Rose on this, as he pointed out the need for strong player development during his introductory press conference on Thursday.

Begley also mentions how former Knicks head coach David Fizdale had one of the smallest player development staff and coaching staff in general during his tenure. It seems expanding player development coaching has become a common practice around the league, with other teams, especially rebuilding ones, already going down that path in recent years.

Thibodeau also stated that he plans to utilize the G League in regards to player development as well. This is very encouraging and something the Knicks didn’t really take advantage of last year. It was reported over the last couple of days that former vice president of player development Craig Robinson wanted to give some of the young players who weren’t seeing a lot of minutes more time in the G League so they could get more playing time, but general manager Scott Perry, who Rose retained, felt as if it would be too big of a demotion.

Fortunately, it seems as though Rose and Thibodeau are on the same page in that they believe in using the G League more, so hopefully, they stick to that thinking cause it can really be beneficial.

Overall, it seems as though the new Knicks regime is serious about making sure they are able to properly develop their youth, and expanding the coaching staff to bring in more people that specialize in that area is a very wise move. It will be interesting to see who the Knicks add to pair with Thibodeau and the coaches he chooses to join him.

New York Knicks: Key Takeaways from Thibodeau’s Press Conference

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

With the news becoming official on Thursday that the New York Knicks have officially named Tom Thibodeau, the 31st head coach in franchise history, the Knicks had their first virtual press conference to introduce Thibodeau later that day formally. Aside from Thibodeau, president Leon Rose and general manager Scott Perry were on the press conference that was conducted via Zoom. A lot of questions were asked, and a lot of notable answers were given, such as Thibodeau talking about how he is looking to coach the team and how he plans on developing the young roster, so with that, let’s dive into some major takeaways from the press conference.

New York Knicks’ head coaching position is Thibodeau’s dream job

Thibodeau made it clear from the beginning that being the head coach of the Knicks is his dream job and a challenge that he has been preparing for his whole career. Growing up in Connecticut, Thibodeau and his family were Knicks fans. He also has a professional history with the team from his seven seasons as an assistant coach under Jeff Van Gundy, which was the last time the Knicks were a consistent league powerhouse and championship contender. Here’s what Thibodeau said when talking about how much this Knicks head coaching job means to him (quotes per Marc Berman of the New York Post):

This is my dream job. … Maybe part of that, I grew up in Connecticut. My father, my family, we grew up as Knicks fans. I’ve been there before, I have a great understanding of New York. I think we have the best city in the world, best arena and the best fans. I was there throughout the ’90s and that was an incredible experience.

It’s very cool to see how Thibodeau’s career has come full circle, with him now returning to the place where he got his first major coaching experience for a prolonged period of time. You can tell how excited he is to be back and how ready he feels he is for this challenge of coaching the Knicks back to relevance.

He will work together with the front office staff

A key element to any head coaching tenure being successful is the relationship between the coach and the front office personnel above him. If they aren’t largely in sync with one another and are butting heads most of the time, the team won’t go anywhere, and people will lose their jobs quickly. Luckily, this doesn’t seem like it will be a problem for the Knicks’ current regime, as Thibodeau has a strong, long-standing relationship with Rose and executive Vice President/senior basketball advisor William Wesley from their CAA days and Thibodeau being a CAA client.

Rose repeatedly touted Thibodeau as the “perfect” coach for this Knicks team and for creating a winning culture going forward. When it comes to Thibodeau’s coaching staff, it looks like choosing the coaches will be a collaborative effort. Thibodeau expressed great confidence in the ability of he and the front office to work together in assembling the right coaching staff:

I think you always sit down with your front office to go over the people you think can help…I’m confident that we’re going to sit down, I’m going to listen [to] the people that they have, I’m going to recommend some people that I know. Some of them are going to be on both lists. I’m e comfortable with that. I think we’re going to get a great staff and I’m looking forward to getting started with it.

Thibodeau mentioned that no decisions have been made yet, but it is expected that Mike Woodson, former Knicks head coach, and Mike Miller, the Knicks interim head coach this season, will be two members of the coaching staff. Names such as Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne and longtime Thibodeau assistants Andy Grier and Dice Yoshimoto have been thrown around as well.

RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson receive praise

When asked about the current team and players that may have stood out to Thibodeau, two names were mentioned: RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. He says he doesn’t want to make any qualifications about players until he meets them in person and gets to work with them, but Thibodeau admitted that those two players impressed him when he watched Knicks games from this season:

Based on film, I really think RJ has a very bright future as does Mitchell Robinson. Those are two who stand out. But we have a lot of young talent.

When asked about other players on the roster who have underperformed thus far in their young careers, such as Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, Thibodeau pointed out that they certainly have talent, but have experienced growing pains like many young players do:

With Frank and Kevin, they’re both young guys that have talent…Like most young players, there are growing pains you go through and there’s steps players have to take. Sometimes we measure guys against guys already established and you forget the steps those guys have to take to get to where they are. It’s an important part of it.

Thibodeau noted that a player’s determination and work ethic is how they get to that point and develop their games. When talking about the kind of rebuild he would be taking on with the Knicks, he admitted that there is a lot of work to be done. Rose claimed there isn’t a set time frame for the rebuild, and they will take everything one day at a time.

Thibodeau seems willing to adjust his coaching style

One of the more pressing questions surrounding Thibodeau is his willingness to adapt his coaching style to fit the modern NBA more. When asked about it, he seemed open towards it, which was refreshing to hear.

He was asked more specifically about his past preference of playing two traditional big men and his strong use of the post-up game, which are both seen as outdated in the modern NBA as teams are going smaller with their lineups. While he thinks that utilizing the post still comes in handy on certain occasions, Thibodeau agreed with the sentiment that the league has changed since his coaching days with the Chicago Bulls and even the Minnesota Timberwolves to an extent. He also noted that no coach should ever want to stay the same.

Another big criticism towards Thibodeau that was brought up during the press conference was his reputation for playing his players too many minutes and running them into the ground. He addressed this by talking about the fact that many elite offensive players were playing at least 30 minutes a game back when he was coaching, so he needed to have his top defenders out there in order for his team to not be at a disadvantage. Thibodeau did recognize that with the increased use of load management, those minutes are going down for most players, and therefore he would work with the trainers and sports scientists to make sure the players aren’t overworked.

Now, whether or not he will actually practice what he preached remains to be seen, but Knicks fans should feel good about Thibodeau’s response to those questions and the fact that he didn’t seem close-minded towards the idea of modernizing the way he coaches like many people speculated he might be.

New York Knicks: Devin Vassell Could Be The Perfect Plug and Play Draft Pick

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

The New York Knicks will be participating in the NBA Draft Lottery on August 25th, 2020. That event is approximately four weeks from today and there’s a possibility of the Knick franchise luckily jumping into the top three in the draft lottery. There’s also the possibility of the Knicks sliding into the ninth, tenth, or eleventh spot in the first round on draft lottery night. If the latter happens in which the Knicks fall in the draft lottery, there are some interesting prospects to choose from. One prospect that’s intriguing is 6’6″ 195lbs shooting guard by the name of Devin Vassell out of Florida State University. With Tom Thibodeau taking over the reins as head coach of the Knicks, Vassell could be the perfect plug and play draft pick.

The 6’6″ shooting guard is a defensive menace who knows how to use his 6’10” wingspan to anticipate opposing offensive attacks, block shots and play passing lanes on defense. Vassell is an elite perimeter defender.

The point of release on Vassell’s jumper is ridiculously high, therefore, he really could shoot over anybody without getting his shot blocked due to his above-average wingspan. His high defensive IQ and motor are two key attributes in his game Tom Thibodeau would love. In addition to his other valuable offensive skill which is his three-point shooting, Vassell also flashed his ability to finish above the rim. The New York Knicks can’t lose drafting a talent like Vassell. He’d fit right into Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. Plus, offensively he’s a catch and shoot threat with potential to eventually become a deadly overall shot maker.

In college Vassell averaged 12.7-points per game along with 5.1-rebounds and 1.6-assists during his 2019-20 campaign at Florida State University. He shot nearly 42% from three and 49% from the field. He averaged 1.4-steals and a block per game during the 2019-20 season. The defensive-minded shooting guard put up these stats while playing 28.8- minutes per contest.

Overall, Devin Vassell is an athletic piece that’ll fit into the Knicks young core from the jump, and Coach Tom Thibodeau would have a field day in bringing him along and showing him the ropes. Defense and three-point shooting is needed on the Knicks. Devin Vassell is a two-way player and the Knicks must pounce on him if the situation is right.

New York Knicks: Leon Rose mum on team’s future plans

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks held an introductory press conference for new head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday. Thibodeau, president Leon Rose and general manager Scott Perry took questions from the media.

Rose, the Knicks new president, says the organization has “not set a timeline” while noting that Thibodeau can help make them “a perennial winner” (quotes per Marc Berman of the New York Post).

“We have not set a timeline. We are taking it one day at a time. We felt Tom was that coach who can take us with development to becoming a perennial winner. That happens one step at a time,” Rose said. “At the moment we don’t know what the roster will be moving forward. We have decisions we have to make. The important thing is to instill the culture, focus on the development and take it from there.”

With Thibodeau in the fold, the onus for the Knicks now shifts to rounding out a coaching staff (Mike Woodson is reportedly expected to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff) and the NBA offseason.

The Knicks have three selections in the 2020 NBA Draft: their own first and second-round pick and the Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round pick. They acquired the Clippers first rounder as part of a midseason trade that sent Marcus Morris to the West Coast.

New York is sixth in the NBA lottery, which takes place on Aug. 20, and owns the eighth selection in the second round (38). They have reportedly interviewed and/or shown interest in guards RJ Hampton, Cole Anthony and Killian Hayes and wings Deni Avdija and Jay Scrubb.

New York has team options on Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock for the 2020-21 NBA season. In the scenario those options are declined, the Knicks could have roughly $60 million in cap space in the offseason.

New York Knicks: Julius Randle Could Be A Dark-Horse Candidate To Improve Under New Head Coach

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

New York Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau tends to get the most out of flawed yet talented players. There is a possibility of fans being shocked about what Thibodeau is able to pull out of Julius Randle, especially defensively, if the Knicks actually decide to keep Randle and not ship him elsewhere before next season begins.

The Knicks head coaching position is Tom Thibodeau’s dream job. Thibodeau has a phenomenal understanding of New York due to his time as an assistant for the Knicks from 1996-2003 and the fact that as a youngster, his household grew him up as a Knick fan in Connecticut. Thibs will impact the young Knicks core in a positive way. High motor players tend to thrive under Thibs in the past. Therefore, Julius Randle could be a dark-horse candidate to improve under the new head coach.

The brilliant Tom Thibodeau, who spent four years at Harvard during the late 1980s could definitely relate to Julius Randle when it comes to attacking the boards for rebounds. Thibs was a rebounding machine in 1976 while playing for his high school alumni New Britain High.

Thibodeau, a 6’1″ senior at the time, pulled down 22-rebounds during an upset over Hartford Public. George Lynn, New Britain’s coach, called it one of the best wins he ever had in his coaching career. Thibodeau was relentless then, and he’s relentless now. The relentless competitiveness from Thibodeau may rub off on Julius Randle, who’s actually already a competitive player who may need the reigns pulled back for him occasionally. Could Thibs help tone down the often reckless Randle on the offensive side of the basketball court?

Can the New York Knicks find the best in Julius Randle?

Julius Randle is such a beast physically. He can snatch an offensive rebound, finish around the rim, then guard multiple positions on defense. He has great work ethic and a very strong physical upper body and motor. These characteristics will not rub Tom Thibodeau the wrong way. Julius Randle never played for a winning coach in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau would technically be the first winning coach Randle has played for in the National Basketball Association, and it’s finally going to happen in Randle’s seventh year in the league.

Randle and Thibs have some similarities. One similarity the two share is their love of rebounding. The new head coach hiring could be the best thing to ever happen to Randle in his young NBA career. Or it could be a disaster in which the two are so similar that they bump heads often. Only time will tell Knick fans. Stay tuned!

New York Knicks: Mike Woodson expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Knicks announced Thibodeau’s hiring on Thursday morning. The former Knicks assistant is the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that Rick Brunson, Daisuke Yoshimoto and former interim head coach Mike Miller are also under consideration to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Woodson was the Knicks head coach from 2012-14. He was promoted to the position in March 2012 in the wake of head coach Mike D’Antoni’s resignation. Woodson joined D’Antoni’s staff for the 2011-12 NBA season.

The Knicks made the playoffs in the first two seasons with Woodson at the helm. In 2012 they lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The ensuing season they were the second seed in the Eastern Conference (54-28), beating the Boston Celtics in the first round and losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Woodson was fired in 2014 after the Knicks went 37-45, missing the playoffs by one game. Owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson to be the team’s president five weeks before Woodson was axed.

Woodson was the Atlanta Hawks head coach from 2004-10, making the playoffs in his final three seasons. Prior to coaching Atlanta, Woodson was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. He was most recently an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Doc Rivers from 2014-18.

New York fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019, subsequently promoting Mike Miller. President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by former agent Leon Rose. The Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau (head coach), William Wesley (executive vice president/senior basketball advisor) and Walt Perrin (assistant general manager) under Rose.

Woodson was a member of Creative Artists Agency, which was previously administered by Rose.

New York Knicks officially hire Tom Thibodeau as head coach

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks announced on Thursday morning that they’ve hired Tom Thibodeau to be the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Team president Leon Rose calls Thibodeau a “proven winner” who brings “leadership” to the table.

“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Leon Rose, president, New York Knicks. “He will bring leadership, accountability and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.”

Thibodeau says he’s “grateful” for the opportunity to coach the Knicks.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust in and respect for,” said Thibodeau. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can’t wait to get to work.”

Thibodeau was most recently the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016-19. Prior to patrolling the sidelines in Minnesota, Thibodeau was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2010-15, where he won Coach of the Year honors in 2011.

Thibodeau has 20 seasons of experience as an assistant coach under his belt split between the Knicks, Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics.

The Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale 22 games into the 2019-20 NBA regular season (4-18) and promoted assistant Mike Miller. As interim head coach, Miller went 17-27.

President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by Leon Rose, who has retained general manager Scott Perry while hiring Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor and Tom Thibodeau as head coach.

New York Knicks: Mental Fortitude Is Vital For Tom Thibodeau’s System

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

New York Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau‘s style has always been hard-hitting when it came to getting the most out of his players on both ends. However, stingy defense along with hustle plays is what Coach Tom Thibodeau holds near and dear to his heart. The young New York Knicks core will find out real soon how vital mental fortitude is for Tom Thibodeau’s system.

Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School interviewed aspiring journalist Adam Taylor who’s currently the lead writer for CelticsBlog.com. The interview was on July 28th, 2020 on The Hoops Spy Podcast. At the 5:11 segment of the podcast, Jonathan Macri asks Adam Taylor for his opinion on Tom Thibodeau’s coaching in New York. Adam Taylor responded with the following statement:

I was against it when it first dropped. My concern was, with the youth you guys got in New York, I always believed Kenny Atkinson was the guy for the job. I kind of convinced myself that he was going to get it because I believed he deserved a shot at that young core, he was the best for player development. Thibs could be the guy that comes in, slowly brings along these guys and he’s going to test the mental fortitude of the core that’s there and the ones who aren’t mentally strong enough are the ones that are going to go. To be honest with you if your going to win an NBA championship, if your going to be the best then you’ll need that mental fortitude. So maybe he’s in the right place at the right time to weed out the guys that aren’t mentally strong enough to make it to that next level.

New York Knicks: What would landing Anthony Davis do for the franchise?

Could the New York Knicks pursue Anthony Davis next offseason?

Anthony Davis forced his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, so expecting him to take his talents elsewhere is optimistic. However, crazier things have happened, as we have seen in current times. The New York Knicks, who have brought in Leon Rose to lead their franchise could change the course of history with a big free-agent signing.

The narrative over the past few seasons has been negative for the Knicks. Free agents aren’t keen on signing with them, based on the poor performance and seemingly bad luck that comes with wearing the orange and blue. Anthony has formed a fantastic duo with LeBron James, and at 28 years old, he could stay there for quite some time.

Can the New York Knicks do the impossible?

Persuading Davis to leave LA and come to New York will be a monumental task, but Rose has the connections to get under his skin and potentially sway his mind.

The Knicks landing a player of his magnitude would be franchise shifting. Currently, they are relying on a majority of youth to carry them out of the dark ages. Players like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson have been asked to produce when no others would. Trading Marcus Morris was a last-ditch effort to acquire some sort of draft capital heading into 2021. However, the team still has Julius Randle, who has left his mark more-so in the refusal to pass the ball category than anything else.

Anthony, was only averaged less than 20 points once in his career, during his rookie season in 2012, would bring astounding offensive production to Madison Square Garden. This season with LA, he posted 26.7 points per game, 2.4 blocks, 1.5 steals, 3.1 assists, and a .511 field goal percentage.

That kind of production is hard to come by, and Rose would do anything to lure Davis to the Mecca of basketball. It is important to note that Rose is a former CAA super-agent in the NBA, with connections across the league. If there’s anyone that can convince a mega-star to become the face of one of the biggest franchises in all of sports, it is Rose. A master negotiator and understanding of talent, he’s worked closely with some of the best athletes in the game.

However, his job title has changed and his responsibilities are vastly different. But one thing remains the same, convincing players to sign contracts and promising them nothing but the best is a feverish trend that carries over from his agent days.

Jay Scrubb Raising Internal Interest Within The New York Knicks

The New York Knicks recently hired Coach Tom Thibodeau. They still have draft homework to do. Leon Rose has made some important front office hires. The Knicks have interviewed some talented draft prospects as of late, however, rumor is that a junior college star by the name of Jay Scrubb has drawn internal interest within the New York Knicks organization.

Jay Scrubb is a 6’6″ 200-pound smooth lefty shooting guard who possesses a 6’9″ wingspan. The former JUCO star is a Louisville commit who played at the junior college level for the John A. Logan Volunteers for two years. Scrubb was named NABC NJCAA Division I Player of the Year as a sophomore. Scrubb who originally committed to Louisville decided to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Knicks recently had Jay Scrubb on for a virtual interview and there are now rumors circulating about the Knicks interest level in the intriguing shooting guard from the west end of Louisville, Kentucky. Jay Scrubb’s shooting ability is important to scouts because of past prospects showing the ability to translate their shooting strengths to the next level of their careers.

The 19-year old prospect shows that he has a chip on his shoulder due to his attacking offensive style and his words. He sends a message to scouts around the world about not overlooking talent at lower levels of competition. Jay Scrubb mentions the following to Fresh Focus Sports.

“There’s talent everywhere. JUCO level, high school level, NAIA, DIII, anywhere, and I don’t want people to sleep on JUCO talent just because it’s JUCO. I feel like I can dominate wherever.”

Jay Scrubb would fit alongside RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and whoever the Knicks take in the first round. With Tom Thibodeau being the current coach of the Knicks, having players with chips on their shoulders could turn out amazing as the young Knicks learn and grow both mentally and physically. Jay Scrubb would be a complimentary selection in the second round for the Knicks.