New York Knicks: What Coaching Tier is Tom Thibodeau?

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel. New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks: What Coaching Tier is Tom Thibodeau? – Tier B

Tier B: Player led NBA Champs

  • Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors)
  • Tyronn Lue (Los Angeles Clippers)

To preface my reasoning, I strongly believe all three of the coaches can be Tier A guys by the time they retire. However, they’ve all benefitted from all-time greats to win a title.

Vogel had the best prior and overall success with the Indiana Pacers and Paul George. However, he never advanced past the Eastern Conference Finals with them. Then he became LeBron James’ main guy and won the NBA Championship for L.A. last season. There’s also a good argument that as a pure coach, Vogel is better than Kerr, but three is also a lot better than one, and the Lakers’ early exit this season haunts Vogel a bit.

Nick Nurse has just been a head coach for three years, winning the championship in year one with Kawhi Leonard leading the charge. He then had a more than stellar season without the Claw but struggled mightily this past season. I’d like to overlook this season though because he is a champion and showed what he can do without a superstar last season.

Tyronn Lue came in at the midway point to replace David Blatt in 2016 and was almost not even arguably led by LeBron James to a championship. A few straight losses in the NBA Championship led to his departure with the Cavaliers, and right now Lue has Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to help carry him. The one thing I will say is that the players certainly prefer Lue to a lot of other coaches, so he must be doing something more than benefiting from star power.

With all that being said, you can never take away an NBA Championship from any coach, because there have been other coaches with just as much player talent who weren’t able to get it done.