How Tom Thibodeau can help unlock New York Knicks young star Mitchell Robinson
Tom Thibodeau has agreed to become the 30th head coach of the New York Knicks. Over the course of his 30-year career in the NBA as an assistant and as a head coach, Thibodeau (Thibs) developed a reputation as a defensive-minded coach. With Thibs’ help as an assistant, the Knicks of the late 1990s, the Rockets of the mid 2000s, and the Boston Celtics of the late 2000s ranked among the league’s best defensive units. As the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Thibs anchored a Bulls defense that was also one of the best between the 2010-11 and 2013-14 seasons.
His rosters with both the Bulls & Timberwolves featured a group of veteran players that helped complement the younger core of players. Additionally, both teams featured #1 draft picks in Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns. The progression of top draft picks generally subside the need for significant coach-to-player development.
The Knicks, on the other hand, are a team that mostly features players under the age of 25. Their two current blue chip prospects – RJ Barrett & Mitchell Robinson – are 20- and 22-years-old, respectively, and they are both light years away from reaching their respective potentials. Therefore, a greater emphasis is needed on player development than ever before in Thibs’ coaching career.
As a result, Daily Knicks curated a multi-part series known as the Thibs Files. The Thibs Files will evaluate some very pointed goals of improvement for the (most likely) returning players on the roster. There will also be a focus on specific areas of improvement from a coaching perspective, on both the offensive and defensive fronts.
Part 1 of the Thibs Files focuses on Mitchell Robinson. The 22-year-old center has set the league ablaze with his uncanny ability to block shots and dunk anything and everything with authority. His 74.2% will be the new NBA record once the regular season ends. Despite surprising many pundits with his performance so far into his career, Robinson has a significant path to improvement—beyond simply being able to shoot the ball.
Here are 3 specific goals that Thibs should set to achieve with Mitch: