New York Knicks: A Look at Head Coach Candidates

Leon Rose, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Leon Rose, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau is reported as being the front runner for the Knicks’ head coaching job. He is the candidate with the most experience, the only one with a winning record, and the only one with a relationship with the team’s president. He has also already been interviewed for the position.

Is he what the team needs?

Thibodeau’s win/loss record (352/246) is very impressive, and I concede he is the obvious choice. That is if the Knicks are once again abandoning a rebuild. In my opinion, Thibodeau is best suited for a more veteran team. If the Knicks start bargaining with their draft picks and going after veteran players, thereby going with the win-now scenario, they will definitely need a coach like Thibs.

Player development

The Knicks have a team made up primarily of young players including the free agents obtained last June. All but two are under the age of 30, nine are under 25. Thibodeau has been criticized for the number of minutes he plays his star players and how hard he runs them in practices. How will that work with the Knicks’ young core?

Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett have emerged as the stars to be, how will those minutes and hardcore practices work on these athletes? Will they turn to glass and constantly be out for seasons at a time?


Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford disagrees with what everyone is saying about his friend. They worked together as assistants under Jeff Van Gundy, and he believes they’re getting the wrong impression of Thibodeau because of his sideline antics, yelling at players. According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, Clifford feels we all have it wrong about Tom:

"The misconception is how personable he is. Guys love him. It’s not going to be every single player, but his relationship with players is a strength. The biggest thing he helped me with is player development. He’s a teacher. He knows how to communicate effectively with players of all different personalities, he connects."