Thibodeau’s ways working – and winning – with surging Knicks


553
553 points

“I judge things by wins and losses. I know that’s kind of not a great way to judge everything, but at this point in the season that’s how I’m judging it,” Randle said. “Are we putting ourselves in position to win, are we doing the things necessary to win games, and right now we are.”

Thibodeau made no guarantees of that when he was hired last summer. His much simpler first priority was for the Knicks to be a good team at practice, where they could eventually develop habits they could carry to games.

That figured to be a challenge in this compacted season, when some coaches say they are hardly practicing at all, given the heavy schedule of games and coronavirus testing protocols teams face.

“I know enough about Tom to know, I’m sure he’s not doing as much as he’s done in the past, but whatever he’s doing is more than everybody else,” Stan Van Gundy said.

Thibodeau has long been known for his endless hours of work and his expectation that players would do the same. He guided the Chicago Bulls to three 50-win seasons and won a Coach of the Year award, but he was criticized for pushing players too hard at a time when organizations stress the value of rest and recovery.

That, along with skepticism about the effectiveness of a defense-first style in this era of explosive scoring, followed Thibodeau from Chicago and Minnesota back to New York. But the Knicks are answering those questions by limiting teams to the fewest points per game and lowest shooting percentage in the league.


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