New Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau grew up in New Britain, Conn., And still owns his old home – 85 miles from the Knicks practice site in Tarrytown.
During his introductory Zoom press conference Thursday, Thibodeau referred to his new position as a “dream job.” “He said this four times.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau said. “This is my dream job. … Maybe part of it, I grew up in Connecticut. My father, my family, we grew up as Knicks fans. I’ve been there before, I have a good understanding of New York. I think we have the best city in the world, the best arena and the best fans. I’ve been there during the 90s and that was an incredible experience. ”;
For the first time in nearly eight months, the Knicks officially have a permanent head coach. They announced it on the first day of the 22nd NBA team to resume, as the Knicks try to restart their dead franchise that has missed the playoffs seven straight years.
Larry Brown once called the Knicks his “dream job” and left after one disaster 17-65. Thibodeau is a former assistant coach from the glory days of the 1990s who went on to become a carp coach with the Bulls and even broke the drought of the 13-year-old playoff in 2018.
But now Thibodeau could face a bigger task with James Dolan’s dying Knicks. Asked how he could turn around a perennial mess, Thibodeau doesn’t shy away from mentioning a championship, which the team didn’t win at 47 years old.
“Don’t make a major jump without going through every step,” he said. “So I think the first step is to establish work ethic and how we want to play. There’s a lot of work to be done. One of the most important things when studying a team is simply to look at efficiency, and when tara [net rating] it’s minus-6.54, you realize there’s a lot of work. Hopefully we can get the players to play for each other and start building those habits.
“Of course the ultimate goal is to bring a league back to the city, where it’s synonymous with winning and championships, and that’s in New York.”
Leon Rose, the Knicks president will be on the hook if the old-school Thibodeau ways don’t work. Rose, his former agent at the Creative Artists Agency, said there was a “level of comfort” in hiring Thibodeau because of their long-term relationship.
Rose called the 62-year-old Thibodeau “the perfect candidate for this job in terms of who will take responsibility, have development and create a winning culture.”
“We spent not only a great basketball coach but an elite coach,” Rose said. “Its principles and goals embody everything that Knicks basketball represents.”
On Saturday, Thibodeau agreed to the terms for a five-year deal. Some league insiders estimate the deal could be worth at least $ 25 million – even with a pandemic discount that is likely to cause his Knicks debut to be playable without fans. who have attended.
Thibodeau thanked Dolan in his prepared remarks and listed 15 coaches from whom he had tied – from Jeff Van Gundy to Bill Musselman. And Thibodeau called the former Knicks coaches who worked with “the best staff ever assembled. Guys like Brendan Malone, Don Chaney, Jeff Nix, Steve Clifford, Andy Greer, Mike Malone – many head coaches located in the championship today. ”
Thibodeau brought the Timberwolves into the playoffs but accusations that he had no connection to the Minnesota young players led to his shooting in January 2019.
Thibodeau refused to go into detail regarding Minnesota.
“He was more of a total re, a team that hasn’t won much in a long time,” he said. “So I think it takes from every experience, but every experience is different.”
Sources indicated that Thibodeau was intrigued by the potential opening in Houston but said he was attracted to the Knicks because of the flexibility of the cap and their wealth of draft pics (seven first rounders in four). following drafts).
“The three main reasons why this job was so appealing to me was the current roster we have now is young and brave and there is room for economic growth,” Thibodeau said. “That’s exciting for me. Second, it’s that I work for Leon and Wes [William Wesley], two people I know for an extremely long time. And the third is all the drafts that have been acquired and also the ceiling space. We have many different ways to improve the team. ”
Thibodeau tried to dispel his reputation as a sergeant who was obsessed with basketball and has no other life. He joked about this long-time Knicks writer saying, “I can’t believe you’re still around” and denied everything he did while unemployed that visited the practices of other teams – which he did a lot.
“I’ve been on vacation a few times,” Thibodeau said. “I know people don’t think I do that. But I went out and sat on a beach in Miami for a few weeks. ”
The Knicks interviewed 11 candidates over seven weeks, but Thibodeau was reported as the forerunner all the time.
“We did our due diligence in this search,” Rose said. “We were open-minded and heard from many different candidates with diverse philosophies. The thoroughness of the search is what we felt the fans deserved. We wanted to get it right.”