2. Make the offense less freelance
Tom Thibodeau is an incredible floor-raising coach, as almost any team he has coached went from garbage to the playoffs almost immediately. This was also the case with the Knicks. New York was one of the biggest laughing stocks in the entire NBA for years, and in just his first season, Thibodeau took them to the playoffs.
Despite being such a great floor raiser, Thibodeau also manages to destroy his team’s ceilings due to his lack of adjustments on either side of the ball and freelance style of offense. While the lack of adjustments is a big issue, we will focus on his style of offense for now.
Thibodeau loves his freelance style of offense that runs at a slow pace and features little off-ball movement. While this is cool and may work in the regular season, it’s 2023, and opposing coaching staffs are smarter than ever. Despite working in the regular season, these coaches pick up on it relatively quickly in the playoffs, and it gets shut down.
While New York may run the occasional pick-and-roll or dribble handoff, it would be great to see Thibodeau involve players in the off-ball more. Some of the top teams in both conferences specialize in this skill, and it’s what makes them such great offensive teams. The Knicks already have great off-ball guys like Quentin Grimes and Jalen Brunson, and it would be nice to see them be utilized more in that aspect.
Teams like the Nuggets, Warriors, and Heat specialize in getting their shooters open with off-ball screens and overall movement. If Thibodeau can adopt this offensive mindset, the Knicks could be an unstoppable force in the regular season and playoffs.