Thibs noted that continuity is important, and most of the key Knicks have now been playing together for years. The Knicks coach knows his team can have success again, but they need to remember it’s a new season and everyone starts at 0-0:
“Getting experience from last year was very beneficial to us, but we have to understand it’s a new year and we start over again.”
He also spoke on the growth of players such as R.J. Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Immanuel Quickley, saying their experience in big games will be valuable going forward:
“I’ve seen growth from two years ago - you take every experience and move it forward. Now when you go into the offseason, you’re preparing for them and that’s a great motivator.”
When talking about Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart’s experience with Team USA this summer, Thibodeau had nothing but positive reviews for international play:
“I think it’s great for younger guys when you look at the history with the Olympics, the World Cup, and Team USA. It’s a different style, I like that too because you’re adapting. You can learn from playing that way and playing against international players. It allows you to hit the ground running in training camp, too. The benefits far outweigh whatever negatives there might be.”
Tom Thibodeau got his first job in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989. It’s been 33 years and he spoke about some of the changes he’s seen along the way:
“The ‘80s were high-scoring, the ‘90s were slow-paced and physical, the 2000s it changed and the 3-point shot has changed the game in some ways. You have to adjust. And I think each generation gets a little bit better learning from the previous generations.”
Thibs also marveled at the athleticism of the NBA players today and said it’s a faster-paced more skilled game nowadays:
“I love where our game is. We have centers doing things that guards are doing. It’s beautiful to watch.”
When asked by Aschburner if he’s changed since his first season as a head coach in 2010-11 with the Chicago Bulls, Thibodeau had this to say:
“It’s important to try to learn and grow. You never want to stay in one place because the game’s not staying the same. In the ‘90s, a wing pick-and-roll was played basically one way. Now there’s spacing, there are slips and go-screen. You have to adapt to how the game is changing. And defensively, you understand what’s hard to guard, so you implement that into your offense. And then, does it fit your personnel? That’s what you have to identify first. What are the strengths of my players? Then you build your system around that.”
Tom Thibodeau will be entering his fourth season with the New York Knicks. He’s coming off a 2022-23 season that saw his team finish fourth in the Eastern Conference at 47-35 and took the Miami Heat to six games in round two. Thibodeau and the Knicks coaching staff will have to continue to adapt year to year as expectations are always high in New York.
For the full Q&A between Steve Aschburner and Tom Thibodeau click ——> Here
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