One day Tom Thibodeau reached a river wide and swift. He couldn’t see any way across. Thibs thought he’d have to turn back when he spotted a frog by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river.
“Hellooo Mr. Frog,” he called across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“Well now, Thibs! How do I know that if I try to help you, you won’t try to kill me?” asked the frog, hesitantly.
“Because,” Thibodeau replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim.”
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked, “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore.”
“This is true,” Thibs agreed. “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river.”
“All right then...how do I know you won’t just wait till we get to the other side and then kill me?”
“Ahh...” he crooned, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?”
So the frog agreed to take Thibodeau across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. Thibs crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so his passenger would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
“Tough game last night,” he said, huffing and puffing. Thibodeau grunted his assent. The frog shook his head. “Quickley struggled with his shot, but that guy does a bit of everything. You ever think about giving him more minutes? Quoth Glen Sather’s Cigar Case: ‘We need to start [IQ] next year.’
“He played 26.”
“He did play 26. It’s not really about how many he played as how many he could have but didn’t. IQ played fewer minutes than Evan Fournier and Alec Burks. Quickley and Miles McBride combined for fewer minutes than Burks.”
“Agree to disagree.”
“That wasn’t an opinion. Those are the numbers.”
Thibodeau shrugged while looking down. “Agree to disagree,” he repeated, softer this time.
The frog, sensing Thibs’ discomfort, decided to change the subject. “Gotta like what you’ve seen from Obi Toppin of late. He played 20+ minutes only 10 times in his first 61 career games, but has now in seven of nine. I imagine one offseason objective will be finding more ways to get him more minutes, either by reducing Julius Randle’s workload or playing the two of them together more.”
Thibs went into some coachspeak about putting players in the best position to succeed that was so vanilla it nearly put the frog to sleep. His eyes were growing heavy when he suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw Thibs remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
Thibs shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back. “I could not help myself. It is my nature.” Then they sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
————————————————————————————————————————————————-That’s all, folks: my last P&T recap of the season. The Knicks still have two games left, the next Friday in Washington, the finale Sunday when they host Toronto. 35-45 wasn’t where most thought we’d be before the penultimate game of the season. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at stake these final days. Stay tuned.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Joe Flynn for being both chill and supportive and for our readers. I still owe emails to many of you who wrote with kindness or concern during the season. If I’m being honest I’m still in the thick of the fog, but it is easier to move forward with confidence after realizing how many people are there with you. So thank you to all who read, comment, or email. Or like the Knicks. That alone makes me like you. A little.
P.S. I have a pretty new Substack where I’ll be writing more and more this offseason. Maybe check it out? I’m also hosting the Bleav Knicks pod with former P&T writer and current Strickland scribe Stacy Patton and The Jacobin Sports Show with Jonah Birch. Peace, everybody. Have a bitching summer.