The rebuild is officially re-on after Leon Rose got his man in Tom Thibodeau, but the fallout from that decision likely includes losing the man who, in an interim capacity, coached the Knicks to respectability after the team sputtered out of the gate this season.
The Knicks have been busy filling out the coaching staff recently — perhaps with an eye on trying to land Donovan Mitchell or something else that isn’t likely — and with each announcement it has become more obvious that Mike Miller’s impressive performance last year may have been for naught, at least as it relates to him getting a position of importance in New York.
Mike Miller, who briefly rejuvenated the Knicks last season after taking over for David Fizdale, will not be serving on Tom Thibodeau’s staff, according to sources. He’s under contract and there was speculation he’d be retained as an assistant after his impressive stint.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) August 18, 2020
Here, let Marc Berman of the New York Post tell you in more detail:
Former Knicks interim coach Mike Miller is unlikely to return to the Knicks as he explores other coaching opportunities, according to a source. Miller is under contract for next season, as The Post reported last month.
Miller could return to the Knicks in a scouting capacity, if he doesn’t find another position.
A source told The Post after Tom Thibodeau was hired that Miller was disappointed and may not campaign for a return to the staff despite his solid work after taking over for David Fizdale on Dec. 4. Miller went 17-27 as interim coach.
Miller’s Knicks went 17-27 in the wake of David Fizdale’s December firing. That’s not exactly a stellar record, but considering the team was 4-18 when Fiz got the boot, a nearly 39% winning percentage ain’t so bad. Miller took timeouts when they were needed and mostly made lineup adjustments as necessary. He even started to let Frank Ntililkina find his rhythm instead of taking him out after a couple of missed shots!
Under Miller, the Knicks notched big late season victories over playoff teams like the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, and the team almost eked out wins against the likes of the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers.
With that said, the Knicks still faced struggles under Miller, including two individual losing streaks of five games.
Still, With Fizdale at the helm, the Knicks were among the worst teams in the NBA in both offensive and defensive rating. Once Miller took over, the team improved in both areas, although only by a smidgen, going from 23rd in the league in defensive rating to 18th, and from 27th in offensive rating to 26th. Small sample size and all. It would have been interesting to see what he could do with more time.
There are those who felt Miller was the perfect coach for this team. He excelled in the G-League, including making the playoffs three of four seasons and being named 2017-18 coach of the year. The Knicks feature a roster full of young guys trying to reach their potential; Miller could have pulled a Kenny Atkinson and helped this team reach heights currently unimaginable.
Instead, Miller will look elsewhere for opportunities. If he doesn’t find any, maybe he’ll come back to the Knicks and accept a lesser position. No matter how it shakes out, let’s wish Miller well. He turned a season of hell into a season of heck.