This week, a new coaching candidate for the New York Knicks has surfaced according to Bleacher Report. Chicago Bulls‘ own Tom Thibodeau seems to be a Knicks admirer and would love to go back to New York — where he was an assistant coach from 1996 to 2003 — and put the franchise back on the map.
But what could Thibs offer the Knicks if this transaction ever comes to fruition? A lot of things. Thibodeau is a great coach and would offer a terrific change in the depressive mentality the team showed in 2013-14. But let’s take a look at what would be the most important change he could make.
Defensive system basketball.
This is the only thing the coach really needs to do to instantly make a difference in the franchise. The New York Knicks had a terrible season in 2013-14 after having won 54 games in 2012-13. Mike Woodson‘s system of play was weak in two fronts: drawn-out plays (which made the team very predictable in late-game situations, therefore, losing the opportunity to get late game wins) and defense.
Without Derrick Rose for the majority of the season, Thibs had to rely on Joakim Noah and his supporting cast to provide a solid and consistent defensive system that would eventually transcend into transitions and good offense. It worked. They took their game to the playoffs. If Thibodeau came to New York, he would instantly implement a new identity on a team that seemed to have one goal this season: play isolation ball and shoot threes. The “switch at all times” defensive system that was played proved to be inconsistent. The constant roster changes and inability of the coach to make players buy into the system created one of the worst defenses of the league, with opponents getting open looks multiple times during a game, basically making a game against the Knicks a shooting practice. If the opponent’s scorers were hot, it would be a blowout every time. Playing system basketball is what Phil Jackson has been meaning to do since he first joined the organization. System basketball makes everyone involved and gets the team in a flow, every game, no matter what the roster is. That would be a great upgrade from the Knicks’ last season.
So if Thibs came to New York with full coaching control, fans could certainly relax on that matter. Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert — the defensive totems of the team — would finally be used wisely and Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith would be free to do their thing on the other end.
Oh yes, and Carmelo Anthony loves Thibodeau’s style of play. That would make him stay in the city. Probably. Maybe. Who knows?
Many changes are ahead. This is pure speculation at this point, but with the Knicks, you knever know.