Tom Thibodeau catches strays from NBA despite Knicks' playoff success

Tom Thibodeau isn't a Coach of the Year finalist.
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Elsa/GettyImages

When the NBA award finalists were announced on Sunday, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t among the three names listed for Coach of the Year. Instead, Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault, Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley, and Minnesota’s Chris Finch are finalists. 

Thibodeau won the award in 2021 after the Knicks made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. New York was ousted in the first round by Atlanta, but for the first time in a while, the Knicks were relevant again. 

New York isn't considered a bottom team in the league, thanks partly to Thibodeau. He's in the midst of one of the best years of his coaching career. With several injuries to key players, Thibodeau adjusted and helped the Knicks finish as the No. 2 seed for the first time in 11 years. Last season, New York made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

Josh Hart has no problem speaking his mind and tweeted that he believes Thibs was snubbed as a finalist. 

On Monday, The Athletic released its annual anonymous NBA player poll. For the third straight year, most players said Thibodeau is the coach they’d least like to play for (subscription required).

Knicks' Tom Thibodeau disrespected in Coach of Year voting, player poll

Once again, Hart made his opinion known about the 46.8% of players that chose Thibodeau as the No. 1 coach they'd least like to play for.

Here's the reasoning for why two anonymous players selected Thibs:

"I’m too old for those practices,” one player said.

“He’s playing everyone 48 minutes,” another said."

The Athletic

Donte DiVincenzo has already debunked the myth that Thibs runs his players into the ground in practice. Because the coach is known for playing his guys high minutes, players assume his practices are brutal.

There have been times when Thibodeau has had players in when it wasn't necessary. However, with the injuries this season (that weren't related to him overplaying his guys), he didn't have much choice but to play guys like Hart heavy minutes.

On Hart's podcast "Roommates Show" with Jalen Brunson, the duo speaks highly of Thibodeau. The head coach even called Hart on one of the episodes, probably to talk about something from the last game or something about their next game. Brunson and Hart have said several times how prepared Thibs is.

When players come to New York to play for Thibs, they likely already have an idea of how he is based on what they've heard. There are players out there who didn't enjoy their time under Thibodeau (as there is for every other coach), but his current players have defended him, which is what matters.