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The Knicks kicked off team practices Wednesday, followed by a Tom Thibodeau press conference

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Thibs is here!

Houston Rockets v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks completed their first day of team practices Wednesday. I was hoping for some video, but I guess the organization felt any clips of the new, improved Knicks practicing would make fans too excited to sleep, and a lot of us have work or school in the morning. Smart move.

Here are some photos, though.

As you can see, most of the young guns are involved, minus Mitchell Robinson, who left camp for personal reasons. Not everybody who participated in last week’s individual workouts stayed on for team exercises, though veteran free agents-to-be Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis are still there. Taj is one of Tom Thibodeau’s guys and stands a good chance of being re-signed, but Portis probably won’t be back in New York next season. You gotta salute his commitment to practice!

The remaining Knicks are staying together in a Manhattan hotel and then taking the long, back-breaking trip to the team’s Tarrytown facility.

Wednesday’s practice ended late (THIBS IS BACK!), but the new coach took the time to address reporters in a video press conference.

Thibs heaped praise on his new assistant coaches like Kenny Payne, who has been working with the bigs, including Kevin Knox.

“Yeah, and not just with Kevin, but with all the players. Kenny is someone — I’ve known John Calipari a long time and every year I would get Kenny’s input on all the draft candidates. I always thought he was very insightful and he knew the players extremely well. So I thought when we had the opportunity to get him that just made a lot of sense on a lot of different levels.”

Thibs also talked about the organization’s other big assistant hire, former Jazz coach Johnnie Bryant:

“Johnnie’s someone I got to know a bit when I was traveling around. I have great respect for the people in Utah. I’ve worked with [GM] Dennis Lindsey in Houston, I’ve gotten to know [Utah coach] Quin Snyder over the years and I have great respect for what they’ve done. The thing that stood out when I went out to Utah and spent time with them was Johnnie’s teaching ability. So when I heard that we would have an opportunity to hire him, I came away very impressed with him.”

So far, everything sounds great. Let’s hope this is the beginning of something special that will pay off...whenever the hell next season starts.