Knicks: A comprehensive breakdown of the first ten games

Tom Thibodeau, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Thibodeau, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 04: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at State Farm Arena on January 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Can Thibs adjust?

Much was made about Tom Thibodeau’s ability to adapt to the modern game prior to his hiring in New York. In Minnesota, his teams took heavy amounts of mid-range shots, and just about every statistical category that matters was inconsistent, except for their defense. It was bad. Similarly, his Knicks, have been somewhat of a mixed bag as well.


The Knicks rank 17th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage,  and dead last in both three-pointers made, and three-pointers attempted. New York also ranks 28th in offensive rating. On the positive side, according to Cleaning the Glass, the orange and blue rank within the 3rd percentile in shot attempts taken at the rim, and within the 13th percentile in attempts at the corner three spot.

Keep in mind that hot-shooting Alec Burks missed a fair amount of games, and his presence in the lineup is bound to have a positive effect on those numbers. However, if we’re being fair, Thib’s minutes’ management, a concerning trend which has followed him throughout his career, has carried with him to the Knicks.

As I’m writing this, Julius Randle and 20-year old RJ Barrett currently lead the NBA in minutes played per game. Ex-coach David Fizdale was clowned (and rightfully so) for disparaging load management as a philosophy, but since the Knicks have exceeded expectations, Thibs has escaped the ire of fans and the media.

Thibs shortened his rotation to 8 players, and while it had a positive effect on the team’s win-loss record, he has to re-evaluate with the player’s long-term health in mind, especially since players are dropping like flies around the league and there was no training camp.


The Knicks are currently 10th in rebounds per game and third in opponent’s points per game. They also rank eighth in defensive rating, however, there is this…

There is no question that the Knicks have benefitted from some early season luck. Regardless, this team is a more defensively active and disciplined team under Thibodeau as opposed to Fizdale. Even notoriously poor defenders like Kevin Knox have improved this season.