New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is entering his third season and he needs to make sure this team is playing up to their potential. If not, then he should be let go very early on in the season.
This Knicks team is one of the younger teams in the NBA and those young players are very talented. Leon Rose has acquired a plethora of young talent via the draft, trades, and free agency.
For example, New York selected Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, but he has only received 14.3 minutes per game over his first two seasons.
Not only is Thibodeau often reluctant to play the younger players on the roster, but he also overuses key players on the roster. Thibodeau is one of the better defensive coaches in the league, but offensively he lacks creativity.
On top of that, he plays those key players for large chunks of the game. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle have both averaged more minutes the past two seasons than Trae Young, Darius Garland, and even Steph Curry. This hurts in later moments of games, which is ultimately one of the main factors why the Knicks often fell apart in the second half last season.
Finally, Thibodeau has struggled a lot in the postseason and holds an overall record of 25-36. Going off of that, he has only won four playoff series while having seven overall appearances in the postseason.
4 reasons why Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau should be on a short leash
1. Thibodeau’s reluctance to play younger players
For the two seasons that Thibodeau has been head coach, he has rarely played the players that Leon Rose has drafted or traded for. Like I mentioned before, Obi Toppin rarely sees time on the floor.
In the seven games where Toppin’s received more than 30 minutes of playing time, he averaged 24.7 points. Thibodeau’s reluctance doesn’t make sense because Toppin averaged 19.0 points per 36 minutes this past season, as he always plays better when he sees more time on the floor.
Some starters also could have used more time off the court to rest up for the later moments, but Thibodeau hesitated to go to the young guys on his bench a lot. Even when he did turn to them, he would pull them off the court quickly.
Cam Reddish is another talented young player on the Knicks roster who rarely saw time on the court. After being traded to New York from the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of the season, he only averaged 14.4 minutes per game.
Reddish is very skilled offensively and has lots of potential on defense with his athleticism. The front office also gave up a first-round pick and Kevin Knox, so most expected to see Reddish get more of an opportunity.
With the direction that this team is headed and all the young talent that they have, it has made some wonder if Thibodeau is the right guy for the job. New York has a plethora of young talent such as Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Immanuel Quickley, Toppin, Reddish, and more, but they never see the court enough to actually contribute.