New York Knicks: Avoiding a sophmore slump for Tom Thibodeau

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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New York Knicks
Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Year two will challenge the New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau. How he addresses those challenges will ultimately dictate the Knicks’ level of success.

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau will enter the 2021-2022 season as the reigning coach of the year. No one can deny that Thibodeau seemingly changed the culture of an organization overnight. His players bought in, fought for him, believed in themselves, and were rewarded with a playoff appearance.

And yet, it’s also true that, despite overblown claims that Tom Thibodeau can’t develop players, his stint in Minnesota, albeit with the dual-title of both coach and President of Basketball Operations, didn’t end well. After breaking a 13-year playoff drought, Thibs was let go after going 19-21 in his third year with the team. Rumors of a frayed relationship with star Karl Anthony-Towns didn’t help the situation.

That brings us to Thibs’ second year in New York. Expectations will be high, given a 41 win season, the continued development of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, and a first-round playoff series. Thibs will have to walk the tightrope of remaining true to his principles while continuing to adjust to the modern NBA and its players.

Let’s take a look at how Thibs can avoid a sophomore slump and help guide the Knicks through the next stages of their development.