New York Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau was very fond of a certain Duke player that played for him when he was head coach of the Chicago Bulls. A six-foot-nine forward that could play the wing and bang down low, Thibs couldn’t get enough of Luol Deng, who played under Thibodeau twice. He first played for him from 2010-2014 with the Chicago Bulls and then again in the 2018-19 season when Thibs was the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Thibodeau always backed Deng in the media by proclaiming, “Lu is the glue.” According to Thibs, Deng always did whatever he was asked to do, and Deng feels the same way regarding his relationship with Thibodeau. He didn’t ask any questions, as he knew Thibs was watching everything. They were able to build a trust with one another.
There’s a Duke player on the Knicks’ current roster that could use Deng’s help to crack the Thibodeau code, and his name is Cam Reddish!
Luol Deng could make Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau love Cam Reddish
Cam Reddish can find a bit of himself in Deng if he looks closely. They both have similar frames and great attributes for a wing player. Both hail from the East Coast, although Deng was born and raised in South Sudan, Africa. He moved to the United States and played high school basketball in New Jersey while Reddish played high school basketball in Pennsylvania.
After Reddish and Deng were McDonald’s All-Americans in their respective classes, they both committed to Duke University to play under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Both players performed well in their freshmen season, which led to them declaring for the NBA draft. Two top 10 picks that ended up in the Eastern Conference, Deng got his start with the Bulls and flourished while Reddish was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks.
Cam Reddish hasn’t had the start that Luol Deng did, but he is still young and is with a new franchise. The Knicks traded for Reddish in January of this year, and he only appeared in 15 games. In March, New York shut him down due to a right shoulder injury. But even before the injury, it seems as if Thibodeau didn’t really have Cam in his plans as he only played him 14 minutes per game. I’m sure that Luol Deng wouldn’t mind helping a former Blue Devil find his footing with his favorite coach.
Thibodeau loved how Deng was committed to training, being in shape, and taking care of his body. After he got to Chicago, Thibs noticed that Deng took Jimmy Butler (a rookie at the time) under his wing, which went a long way with him. Even later down the line, when Deng joined the Timberwolves, Thibodeau wanted him because he was able to play different positions and was familiar with the culture that Thibs wanted to create.
Although Deng took off when he went to the NBA, Cam Reddish has shown flashes that he can produce at this level as he averaged double figures in points in his three years with the Hawks.
The Knicks should seriously consider investing in Cam Reddish. They have already invested in RJ Barrett, and he and Reddish were both teammates at Duke, which is a plus. Also, Zion Williamson could be available in four years once his contract is up with the New Orleans Pelicans. He may want to come to New York and reunite with his Duke teammates. I’m sure that the front office has this in mind, so it would be wise to keep Cam.
So, it’s time to get Luol Deng and Cam Reddish together. They can share stories about their time at Duke University, what it’s like playing under both Krzyzewski and Thibodeau, and discuss life in the NBA. Let’s hope that Cam can crack Thibs’ code with the help of one of his favorite players, Luol Deng.