1. Why Tom Thibodeau is the right hire for the Knicks: The Knicks are never prominent without defense
The New York Knicks have a long history of being a contending-level franchise, despite the woes of the James Dolan era. The key to the franchise’s success during that time was its quality of play on, as well as its commitment to, defense.
With Tom Thibodeau as head coach, the Knicks are taking a massive step towards embracing defense as the primary method of operation again.
For perspective: The Knicks have won at least 50 games in 12 different seasons since 1970. During those 12 years, the team ranked in the top 10 in Defensive Rating every time but in 2012-13, when it was top 10 in points allowed per game.
New York also went 6-0 when it held opponents below 80 points during the 2013 NBA Playoffs and 0-6 when it failed to. Once again, the defense was the key to team success.
Thankfully for the Knicks, Thibodeau will have a number of committed defenders to work with. That includes versatile perimeter defender Frank Ntilikina, elite shot-blocker Mitchell Robinson, and potential all-around impact player RJ Barrett, who should at leats thrive as a ball-hawk.
There are still questions to be answered by Thibodeau and his coaching staff, but if he can get the Knicks back to prioritizing defense, Madison Square Garden will be a better place.
More importantly: The New York Knicks may do what Tom Thibodeau helped the Minnesota Timberwolves did and end an extensive postseason drought.