This might be the most divisive candidate among the fanbase and people who talk about the league.
A long-time assistant under Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau has built a reputation as a no-questions asked, just go out and play your damn heart out style of coaching. In another era, this would have been celebrated. I mean, who doesn’t want to treat every possession of a basketball game like the fate of the world hangs in the balance? Isn’t that why everyone is eating up stories about Michael Jordan from ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary?
But times have changed. And research tells us that players perform better in the long-run when their minutes are managed to a reasonable extent.
Thibodeau’s name has been tied to the Knicks since the moment Leon Rose took over as team president. Thibs is represented by CAA, where Rose was head of basketball operations.
You can’t argue with some of Thibodeau’s results. He has a 352-246 career record in the NBA, winning NBA Coach of the Year in 2011. However, his best seasons were early in his tenure with the Bulls, and his time in Minnesota was marked by disagreements with star Jimmy Butler that ultimately led to his departure.
The Knicks will have to decide if Thibodeau’s time away from the bench has helped him realize how to better fit his style of coaching into the modern game, and whether his obsessive drive to win can counter some of the drawbacks associated with his reputation.