NY Knicks: Nate Robinson is a fan of Tom Thibodeau

Nate Robinson, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Nate Robinson, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks coaching candidate Tom Thibodeau impressed former NBA player Nate Robinson.

As Tom Thibodeau appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for the New York Knicks full-time head coaching position, several NBA coaches have come out in support of the former Timberwolves bench chief. And some of his ex-players respect his hustle, too. Former Knick Nate Robinson called Thibs one of his favorite coaches in a recent interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson.

"“To be honest, Coach Thibs is one of the dopest coaches I’ve ever played for,” Nate Robinson told Scoop on an Instagram Live interview last week."

The 5-foot-9 guard placed himself in a unique space of Knicks history by winning the Slam Dunk contest three times while he was a young guard on the team. He played five seasons in New York, averaging 12.5 points on 42.9% shooting before being traded to the Boston Celtics.

Nate Robinson had a breakout season under Tom Thibodeau.

Robinson knows what it’s like to play for coach Thibodeau after appearing in 82 games for him, mostly off the bench, during the 2012-13 season when the Chicago Bulls went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The explosive guard was given a chance to rejuvenate his career playing increased minutes due to the injury to superstar Derrick Rose.

"“I was really blessed to have the opportunity,” Robinson said. “For one, people don’t understand that during that time, I had a non-guaranteed contract so they could’ve cut me at any time so I was already walking on eggshells. I was literally the third point guard off the bench; Kirk Hinrich started. You had Marquis Teague coming off the bench and then I was next. But I literally had to wait my turn and wait for the right opportunity to showcase what I could do.”"

Robinson averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 assists for Thibs, with his best game coming in a playoff win over the Brooklyn Nets when he scored 23 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter. He scored at least 20 points in four of Chicago’s 12 playoff games that year.

"“He showed me professionalism, really how to be a student of the game, studying the playbook, studying players,” Robinson said of Thibodeau. “It’s like knowing your enemy better than it knows itself and being prepared. He’s always prepared. He always has a plan A,B,C,D,E,F and G so, that’s one thing that [a team that hires him is] going to get out of Coach Thibs.”"

The Knicks are in the process of interviewing candidates to coach the team next season. While Thibodeau appears to be the favorite, there is internal support for former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. Former Knicks lead Mike Woodson is also expected to be interviewed, although many view him more likely as an assistant. Interim coach Mike Miller will reportedly get consideration, and if he doesn’t get the full-time gig, it is expected he will be offered an opportunity to stay within the organization.

The Knicks ended the 2019-20 season with a 21-45 record after starting an abysmal 4-18 under David Fizdale. Miller deserves credit for righting a wayward ship.