Tom Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year agreement to become the new Knicks coach.
Knicks President Leon Rose believes that Thibodeau is the right fit for the team to help restore past glory. Together, they are tasked with re-establishing the franchise and putting an end to a long playoff the drought.
The Knicks have been looking for a new head coach for six months after firing David Fizdale halfway through the 2019-20 season. They were considering former NBA coaches who had success like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd. The team ultimately believed that Thibodeau would positively impact the team as he is a great defensive coach and knows how to handle young players and veterans alike. He also ended the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 14-year playoff drought by bringing in Jimmy Butler.
However, NBA analysts seem to be skeptical of his ability to coach. Thibodeau has been out of the league since being fired by the Timberwolves in January 2019. Some former NBA players had choice words to say after the Knicks decided to hire Thibodeau. David West pointed out that he was not happy about teams not giving Black coaches, such as Mark Jackson and Tyronn Lue, a second chance despite the experience and success they’ve had in the league.
The New York Knicks Struggle
The Knicks are among the wealthiest teams in the NBA, with a Forbes value of $4 billion. Nevertheless, New York has been struggling as a whole franchise and never reached their expectations. They have a 590-922 record since the 2001-02 season and a winning percentage of .390, which is the lowest in the NBA during that span.
The Knicks finished 12th in the Eastern Conference this season with a record of 21-45 and have not made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season when Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire led the team. They traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in early 2019 due to his injury, and the team suffered even more after the trade.
There is no clear direction of how the Knicks will rebrand or rebuild the franchise. They hope that hiring Tom Thibodeau is the right move and the beginning of a new era for the Knicks.
Tom Thibodeau Coaching Career
Tom Thibodeau’s career as head coach shined during his time with the Chicago Bulls from 2010 to 2015. With young, healthy Derrick Rose and a strong team, he led the Bulls to the playoffs each year. Famous for being a defensive coach, Thibodeau was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading the Bulls to a 62-win season. He was also the head coach of the All-Star Game for the Eastern conference in 2012.
The Bulls reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011 but lost to the Miami Heat. He also led the team to their first 50-win season and division title since the Michael Jordan era. In 2012, he became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 100 victories and entered the playoffs as the Eastern Conference top seed again with the league’s best regular-season record.
Thibodeau became the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2016. After four years with the Timberwolves, he will head to New York and take over the helm of the Knicks.