Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo addresses common Tom Thibodeau misconception

DiVincenzo is pro-Thibodeau.
New York Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo
New York Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The New York Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau in 2020, and some fans still can't decide whether they like him. In that span, he's led New York to two playoff appearances and is well on his way to a third. Yet, many people (including non-Knicks fans) hesitate to say Thibodeau is a good head coach.

Donte DiVincenzo doesn't want to hear any of it. He chose New York in 2023 free agency. He chose Thibodeau as his head coach.

After Monday's win over the Warriors, DiVincenzo spoke with The Athletic's Sam Amick about his new head coach (subscription required). Amick referenced The Athletic's 2023 anonymous players poll, in which most responses dubbed Thibs as the coach players would least like to play for. What did DiVincenzo think about that poll?

"That poll, for me — and excuse my language — but it doesn’t mean s—,” DiVincenzo, who played for Golden State last season and signed a four-year, $50 million deal with New York last summer, told The Athletic after the Knicks’ win over the Warriors on Monday night. “I’ve seen the poll, but I signed here."

DiVincenzo, via The Athletic

DiVincenzo disputes notion that Thibodeau overworks his players

One of Thibodeau's biggest critiques is that he pushes his players too hard. It doesn't matter what the injury is. If a Knicks player gets hurt, it has to be Thibs' fault. After all, he has a reputation for overworking his players. DiVincenzo shut that down, too.

"They’re not,” DiVincenzo confirmed. “I played for (the Warriors’ Steve) Kerr and played for Coach Bud (former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer). It’s not like you come here and all of a sudden you’re just running track every day (in practice). I think what he does by far better than anybody I’ve been around is he’s the most prepared. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for two hours on your feet and running. But when you’re in there, you’re gonna lock in and you’re gonna get the stuff done and we’re gonna get out of there."

DiVincenzo, via The Athletic

Jalen Brunson has said several times that he's never played for a coach as prepared as Thibodeau. He and Josh Hart have discussed it on their new podcast, "Roommates Show." DiVincenzo said Thibs does "a great job of balancing things" in practice.

The work that Thibodeau and his players have put in has paid off. Even though New York is dealing with injuries, the team has maintained its stance as one of the best in the East. A lot of that probably has to do with Thibs' preparation. The next-man-up mentality has served the Knicks well.

None of this is to say that Thibodeau doesn't make questionable decisions. If it's a blowout game and the Knicks starters are still in, take them out. That's a fair critique. However, don't pretend that Thibs doesn't deserve credit for New York's rise. There's a reason why current Knicks, including DiVincenzo, enjoy playing for him.

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