The worst-kept secret in New York basketball is now confirmed. The Knicks have announced Tom Thibodeau as the team’s new head coach.
Thibodeau has been the job frontrunner for the last several months due to his close ties with newly-appointed team president Leon Rose.
“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Rose. “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’s first stint with the team came from 1996-2003, a period where the Knicks made six playoff appearances, including an historic Finals run in 1999.
“I’m very excited today to be here, this is a dream come true for me,” said Thibodeau. “This is my dream job. I think we have the best city in the world, we have the best arena in the world, and we have the best fans in the world.
“Initial steps would be to contact each player, get in touch with them, and then we lay out the plan. We have to establish a work ethic, and build championship habits each day. The ultimate goal is to bring a championship back to the city.
“I grew up a Knick fan, there was no better place to be than Madison Square Garden. I love challenges, I love the city, the arena, the fans, and I’m excited about the team, I can’t wait to get going.”
Thibodeau’s last head-coaching gig was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where in 2018 he took that team to their first playoff appearance in 13 years. He holds a career head-coaching record of 352-246.
No matter where you stand on this move, it’s a relief to have the first shoe drop on our new direction.
Am I concerned about Thibs being able to institute a modern offense and pace with our current players? Yes.
Am I worried about how he’ll manage minutes and not running our players into the ground? Absolutely.
However, I’m confident Thibodeau will put a competent, well-coached team on the floor without the dysfunction we’ve seen in recent years. And with Thibs and Rose being close friends, I’m also not expecting to see a lopsided roster that’s log-jammed in the frontcourt next season.
Speaking of that, the most promising thing we’ve heard is Thibodeau’s willingness to have the Knicks select his assistants, opening the door for guys like Mike Woodson (our best head coach in recent years) and Mike Miller to keep the offense and defense balanced.
As with every coach, time will tell. But for now, let’s kept cautious optimism headed into the draft and off-season.