Knicks: Top 5 players most likely to thrive under Tom Thibodeau

Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Taj Gibson (67) grabs a rebound against Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Most likely to thrive under Thibodeau: Taj Gibson

Ok, so this one might be a bit of a cop-out. He’s already played under Thibs in six different seasons of his career with the Bulls and Timberwolves.

Taj Gibson recalled his time with the defensive guru in Chicago quite fondly, expressing that Thibodeau’s approach to player development was exactly what he needed to flourish into the player he’s become.

"“It was easy for me to learn early in my career. He had a bunch of guys in Chicago willing to learn, willing to listen in Chicago,” Gibson said (via The New York Post)."

It’s precisely that history and level of camaraderie that will help him this time around as well, either as a player-coach of sorts, or anchoring the back line of New York’s defense.

Perhaps just as importantly, Gibson also had a front row seat for Thibodeau’s years in Minnesota, which are not viewed that positively in league circles. However, it seems like the veteran coach was amenable enough to come to terms with what he could’ve done better with the Wolves.

"“He’s kind of misunderstood because people don’t know him. And from the outside world, he doesn’t really talk as much. He’s starting to learn to talk (more) to people in the outside world. In the locker room, he’s a real dude. He’s a respectable dude. And he’s hard-nosed. But he wants the best for you,” Gibson expressed (via SNY)."

Gibson’s statistical output next season isn’t likely to be remembered in the annals of fantasy basketball lore, but his ability to understand the message Thibodeau means to communicate (even if Thibs, himself, may not always present it accurately on his own) might be worth its weight in gold. Good translators are sought after in many aspects of life, and having a reliable one in a professional sports locker room doesn’t hurt either.

For this reason, it could make sense for the Knicks to bring Gibson back next season.